Project: Jeroen Jongeleen’s “culture hacking”

Friday, February 5, 2010

“Site & Content Specific Art (Practice)”, graffiti by Jeroen Jongeleen in the Palmentuin, Paramaribo; photo courtesy the artist

The Rotterdam-based artist Jeroen Jongeleen, one of the participants in the ArtRoPa exchange programme, spent several weeks in Paramaribo in late 2007 and early 2008. Here the Dutch critic Siebe Thissen describes Jongeleen’s work in Paramaribo, in an excerpt from a longer essay in the Paramaribo SPAN catalogue.

Jeroen Jongeleen’s work in Paramaribo staged an encounter between street images and the visual arts. Jongeleen plastered graffiti slogans in the city where he had spent his youth. With not a little irony, he sprayed the words “art in public spaces” on a neglected little concrete structure in the Palmentuin [Palm Gardens] — a nocturnal haunt for Paramaribo’s junkies.

“Buiten Kunst uit Rotterdam” (“Public Art from Rotterdam”), graffiti by Jeroen Jongeleen in Paramaribo; photo courtesy the artist

Jongeleen also added a monumental feature at the corner of Wanicastraat and Sophie Redmondstraat, close to the US Embassy. UNESCO may have declared Paramaribo’s old, well-preserved city centre a world heritage site, but small wooden workers’ houses, many of which have been neglected, do not enjoy that protection. Jongeleen painted one of those unlisted houses completely white, with window frames in light blue — the colour of UNESCO. His action introduced a new element into the visual culture of Paramaribo: “culture hacking”, or the power of art to react to and comment on the surrounding visual culture.

Painted house at 59 Wanicastraat; photo courtesy the artist