The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

Artist Frank Bloem about his 3-month staying at artists' residence Het Vijfde Seizoen.

On the site of the famous psychiatric hospital ''De Willem Antsz Hoeve'', is located an artist's residence called 'Het Vijfde Seizoen' (the fifth season). It is a small building with large open spaces and high windows, located among the different pavilions of the psychiatric hospital in the forests of Den Dolder. Each resident stays for three months and is asked to interact with the population of the institution. I was invited to live and work there from January to March in 2010. The winter was severe. My view over a white moorland the first months was stunning.

I decided to start two projects. Because of the winter I thought it would be a good idea to write letters to the patients. In order to do so, I constructed an iron letterbox together with patients. I also designed cards that I handed out to people in order to start a conversation in letters. The letters I received differed from puzzled to stories about art. I returned all letters and exhibited them at the end of the residential period.

The second project was a steel structure showing the word HOOP that was placed on a pile of overgrown soil. Two patients taught me how to weld and together we made the letters. The word hoop means hope, but it is also the Dutch word for pile.

My works mostly have an optimistic appearance, but on second thought they appear to be provocative in the context of the location. The patients for instance vandalized the work ''HOOP''. It has been replaced.

''Het Vijfde Seizoen'' is an amazing chance to step into a total different world. The border between sane and insane is quite thin and for three months that border lay just outside the front door of my temporary house and studio.


Frank Bloem