The Nes is a paved dyke which, in Schagen, crosses a provincial road (the N241). Here, a large number of new buildings have been constructed. Because of this, and because the Nes sees a lot bicycle traffic, a bicycle tunnel was sorely needed. A ‘Nes’, or ‘ness’ in English, is a promontory or headland – a point of high land that stays dry despite changing water levels. As a result, people have historically settled in such areas, making them of archaeological interest.
With Monster van Nes (a play on words that invokes the imagery of the mythical Loch Ness Monster and translates as Sample of Nes), housed in the bicycle tunnel, Michiel Kluiters aimed to create a special monument for the region. It consists of a collection of archaeological finds unearthed in the area around the N241.
He meticulously reproduced thirty of these items using coloured concrete. Each item was given its own colour and was greatly enlarged, after which it was mounted on one of the tunnel walls.
These items hang on the wall as high reliefs, and appear to only partially protrude through the surface of the wall – as if they are still stuck in the ground. The way they have been fashioned makes you want to reach out and touch them: their magnification makes them seem incredibly voluminous, making their details and imperfections clearly apparent. The various colours also have a part to play. Kluiters: ‘The concrete was dyed using a pigment. The colours I chose were subtle – not too bright or garish. Dying the concrete created a colour intensity that I find beautiful, and it also matches the matte appearance and ‘skin’ of the concrete wall’.
Archaeological finds often come with an indication of scale, usually a ruler or ranging rod (a staff with red and white stripes). That is why special rulers have been fastened to the wall opposite the items. These give off light, and indicate the original size of the archaeological finds. Each ruler bears a concise description of what each item is, where and when it was found, and to when it dates back.
In order to create this installation, Kluiters needed help from nearby residents and other contributors.
On www.monstervannes.nl, they were able to present archaeological finds they themselves had discovered. With its archaeological finds, Monster van Nes tells a story about various bygone times and events that are connected to the area around the N241. It also represents the renewal of the road, as the finds were made possible thanks to the construction work being carried out in order to widen the road.