At Large  May 17, 2019  Jeremy Howell

Daan Roosegaarde's Art is Helping to Keep the Earth Beautiful and Clean


Waterlicht, 2015–present, LEDs, software, lenses, humidity, installation view at Museumplein, Amsterdam, 2015. Artwork © Daan Roosegaarde

Phaidon will soon release a comprehensive book on Daan Roosegaarde. The book's release is coinciding with the 40 year old Dutch artist's first ever retrospective, which is taking place at the Groninger Museum. Roosegaarde is widely regarded as one of the decade’s most important contemporary artists. Known for his large scale sculptures and installations in urban environments that blur the lines between technology, art, and environmentalism, Roosegaarde was named Dutch Artist of the Year. He has also been the recipient of major awards including the London Design Innovation Medal and the INDEX Award.


The cover of PHAIDON's new Daan Roosegaarde book

Art & Object recently got to look at the new Roosegaarde book by Nico Daswani, Fumio Nanjo, and Carol Becker. The book is part of Phaidon’s Contemporary Artists Series, and it is, to us, an excellent addition. Like Roosegaarde’s work, the book is intellectually stimulating but also a visual feast, capturing some of the artist’s most impressive works.

Roosegaarde is highly influenced by the Dutch word schoonheid, which has a dual meaning of “beauty” and “clean-ness.” Roosegaarde’s work strives to be both aesthetically beautiful but also clean for the planet. For instance, he created a beautiful smog vacuum tower that turns captured air particles into jewelry. With his installation, Van Gogh Path, Roosegaarde constructed a 600-meter bike path that glows at night with swirling blues and greens. These incredible works and many more are highlighted in Phaidon’s new book.


Van Gogh Path, 2012–15, smart coatings and other media in concrete pavement, c. 600 m, permanent installation, in Nuenen-Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Artwork © Daan Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde was born in 1979 in Nieuwkoop, Netherlands. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Enschede and later received a masters in architecture from The Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. Roosegaarde has exhibited in some of the world’s great art institutions, including the Tate Modern, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Tokyo National Museum.


Smog Free Tower, 2015–present, aluminium, patented positive ionization technology, 700 x Ø 250 cm, installation view at Vierhavensstraat 52, Rotterdam, 2015. Artwork © Daan Roosegaarde

In an interview included in the new book, Roosegaarde tells Nico Daswani that his art was in part about, “revealing the potential of the world we live in. It’s just about looking at [the world] in a different way and showing a new dimension.” We can’t think of a better purpose for art. Roosegaarde lives up to all the hype. Anyone who cares about contemporary art needs to know Roosegaarde. Phaidon’s book is a fabulous introduction to him.

About the Author

Jeremy Howell

Jeremy Howell is the Co-Founder and Editor of Art & Object. 

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