This was our first visit to Radius, Centre for Contemporary Art and Ecology in Delft and rather overdue it was too. The centre opened in May after many delays largely due to Covid.
This exciting and brave new venture is located in the pump house with a water basin that was built in 1918 -1919 adjacent to the water tower from which was built some twenty years earlier. Located to the north of the city it is adjacent to the Nederlandsche Gisten en Spiritusfabriek. Prior to that the site was the municipal cemetery from 1829 until1874, the only trace of which is a tomb hidden of the bushes, a few meters from the tower, of a pretender to the French throne. The Radius complex, consisting of a water tower, pump house and water basin is part of the protected cityscape of Delft has been listed as a national monument since 2002.
To enter the underground exhibition space(s) one has to venture down some concrete steps behind the pump house and entering the former giant water tank is initially a bit scary. However you soon get used to it and are able to take in the amazing space. Almost like a maze or a military bunker there are three circular areas each a little smaller than the previous one like a nest of Russian dolls. The artists have their own space and the soundscape and lighting create, along with the imposing stained concrete walls, a truly immersive experience.
Entangled Life is the third exhibition of the Underland year program, exploring the multi-species entanglements that occur in forest ecosystems through the work of nine artists. Moving from the world wide web to the wood wide web, this exhibition seeks to advocate for a heightened notion of symbiosis, mutualism, reciprocity and interdependence.
Artists participating in Entangled Life are Abbas Akhavan, Ursula Biemann, Suzette Bousema, Eglé Budvytyté, Wim van Egmond, Johanne stvold, Nona Inescu, Dominique Koch and Milah van Zuilen.
Included in the price of your ticket is the water tower itself and a climb up the numerous steep and often spiral staircases is well worth the exertion. From the top one gets spectacular views across Delft along with, to the south, the skyscrapers of Rotterdam on the horizon and the downtown area of The Hague to the north. Michael Hasted 1st October 2022
Photo by Astrid Burchardt