World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 331 - Leonard Passchier

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 331 - Leonard Passchier

In the secondary river near Zwolle, not far from the ferry to Hattem, bright orange life rafts float on a leash in the water. They are of the type used on seagoing vessels and are intended to survive at sea for a longer period of time in the event of calamities. The rafts together form 'pre Camping Zondvoed' (pre Camping Deluge), a work / performance by Leonard Passchier on the occasion of the IJssel Biennale 2021.

Leonard Passchier has been involved with water from an early age and in particular with the sea. He grew up on the Zeeland coast, in Vlissingen. There he was often found on the beach.

Bashing waves back

“Building dikes together with my brother and trying to keep them standing for as long as possible against the rising water. The sea always won. Nevertheless, this was by far the most fun games we played.” Another fun game was the 'bashing back' of waves. “You stood in the surf and tried to hold your own against the waves and push back against the waves if you could, also through the waves. Always in vain, the sea always won.”

Playing by the sea

After graduating from secondary school, he went to the nautical college in Vlissingen. But that wasn't quite it. After a year he decided to go more in the creative and ultimately the artistic direction. Two years ago he graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. The sea and shipping are his great sources of inspiration. For him, being an artist is inherently linked to playing by the sea.

Key work

Does Leonard have a key work, a work that set him on a new track? He has. It is the video performance work 'Five hours and twenty minutes'. “It is a video work in which you see a human figure standing in front of a sea. Here I try to set the human experience of time against time, the environment that moves. In this case the sea with the rising water. A cycle of ebb and flow that lasts ± 12 hours. The intention was to stand for a whole cycle but this failed up to four times for various reasons.”

Ebb and flow

The IJsselvalley is a completely different area than the coast. “The water is surrounded by trees. Yet there are many similarities to be drawn. Here too there is a form of ebb and flow, but with a very different cycle, one that extends over a year. I think it's a beautiful area and I immediately wanted to stay there. I regularly go camping with a life raft. And so one thing led to another, the idea for the camping deluge was born.”

Although his work often takes place at the intersection of video and performance art, the IJssel Biennale was an excellent opportunity for him to create a work without a lens. “A work where the viewer also becomes the performer himself by staying overnight in the artwork.”

Performance / course

Unfortunately, he was not licensed for this. “I will be giving a performance / course on 4 September on how to deal with rising water. I do this together with the students who also become performers. We will activate the two life rafts and while bobbing on the water we will investigate what can be found on board and how it can be used.”

Here's a video of an earlier performance with a life raft:


1) photo Wim Eikelboom, 2) photo René Pot, 3) camping in the Ardennes, Leonard Passchier, 4) for the purpose of the course, 5) camping deluge, 6) camping, 7) camping 2, 8) video still Five hours and twenty minutes – 1, 9) video still Five hours and twenty minutes – 2, 10) portrait photo Leonard Passchier



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