Soft Series: Naval Mine

Sewn replica of a WWII German-type Naval mine, made of organza, transparant busks and sewing thread, scale 1:1. 2017

As part of the Soft Series and as part of my artist-in-residence at Kunsthal45, Den Helder I made a partially hand-sewn scale 1:1 transparant naval mine. The mine is made from transparant rainbow organza, transparant busks and multi-coloured nylon sewing thread. The ball-shape is 70cm in diameter (excluding the spikes), the mine also has a three meter long chain.

About the Soft Series in general:
The soft series are a series of weapons made of fabric, which I started in 2015 with a scale 1:1 replica of a Kalashnikov rifle. With these objects I want to search for the contrast between the original and current state of each weapon: harmful and deadly versus soft and totally useless, except for its visual beauty. All weapons are hand-sewn, this way I want to create a parallel between the designers and makers of the original weapons and the ones I am making now. It’s extremely difficult to design and create a well-functioning weapon and therefore it takes a lot of time, care and dedication to complete it. I also find it very interesting to see what kind of love-hate relationship some weapon designers had with their creations: Mikhail Kalashnikov, for example, felt extremely guilty for the last decades of his life because his deadly invention was just too successful. For him it was a continuous struggle with his conscience of what he had done.

The theme of the artist-in-residence at Kunsthal45 this year was Het Zout en de Zee (the salt and the sea), so it was a logical step to make a WWII-type naval mine at the venue. Every couple years, some of the mines who were placed in the sea and who haven’t exploded during the war become adrift and wash ashore on Den Helder’s beaches.