The ‘Rock Strangers’ sculpture in The Hague embodies the idea of Arne Quinze’s artistic endeavours to unite people. Expanding further on his study of livability in today's context the artist introduces strange elements into the daily environment.
Prior to the 2015 refugee surge to Europe Arne Quinze has been very observative for several years to the signals of international migration flows. Since 2008 his work is embedded with a perspective on migration movements. First in 2012 Rock Strangers in Ostend and later on ‘Rock Strangers — The Hague’, installed in 2016, are therefore no exceptions to his work during that period.
This public sculpture is a clear statement that requires taking into account that our future societies must open itself to a more multicultural facet. For Arne Quinze the modern society of the future will be built on diversity inside a hybrid cultural existence with equality between gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, health status, marital status, education, disability and socio-economic status. With ‘Rock Strangers’ he sets out to render the spectators reflection in the direction of this line of thoughts.
Who’s the stranger?
‘Rock Strangers’ appear where you would least expect them to. Their characteristic electric colours provides a sharp contrast to their surroundings and accentuates the alienating effect they evoke. People feel attracted to these ‘Rock Strangers’ because they are curious about what is happening in this place. In addition, they also wonder what they mean in their surroundings.
But how did they come to be there? This work of art raises questions. What happens if strange elements suddenly appear in my environment, in my city? How do we react to unusual objects when we are suddenly confronted with them in our everyday life? Who or what is actually the stranger among us: the object or the passer-by? Many answers lie in the openness and freedom that people experience or express during the acceptance of strange elements which they are confronted with.
What happens if strange elements suddenly appear in my environment, in my city?
— Arne Quinze
Bringing people back together: according to Quinze, this should be the ultimate objective of public art. After an initial surprising impression, a sculpture is able to refine the threshold of acceptance for the passer-by, by flying in the face of the norm – norms lead only to monotonous grey cities. Just as in the artworks, and just as in nature, cities should aim for a symbiosis of numerous organisms, which in their turn fuel conversation and consequently the conservation of their future.
People tend to build up a safe cocoon around them, which cannot be penetrated by strange elements or the unexpected. It is as if the walls that they have built around themselves still are not sufficient. We seem to be distancing ourselves more and more from other people.
Arne Quinze’s work is essentially about bringing people together, regardless of origin or nationality, always and at any time.
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