Ilke Gers is a visual artist and a retired tennis player from New Zealand. Gers’ play of lines recalls road markings and sports fields and invites an improvised response. Gers has started making chalk drawings across the floors of TENT. On Saturday 4 June there will be an opening event for the installation from 3 to 6 PM.
With the lines she responds to the architecture, history, use and rhythms of the building. She plays with movement and signage, and our reading and physical negotiation of the built environment. Ilke Gers is also triggering the curiosity to explore. Her chalk lines also prompt a slowing down and a question of the care to take when moving through a communal space.
The designed environments we inhabit facilitate our movements, but also script them. Yet its everyday users don’t necessarily follow the official line. They take short-cuts and detours, cutting through shrubbery or seeking shade, leaving trails of alternative possibilities. This is the intuitive logic of desire lines, also known as elephant trails, pirate paths or free-will ways, where multiple feet form a spontaneous gesture of reappropriating public space.
The exhibition title ‘open & sneller’ (open & faster) is a quote from the public space of Rotterdam, connecting Gers’ work with the upsurge in construction and demolition in the city. When the regular route towards the cycling tunnel under the river Maas was closed for renovation, myriad informal paths appeared. Each time bikers found a new pathway, a fence emerged to block it. This tug-of-war came to a truce when a hand-written sign with the message ‘open & faster’ pointed to an opening further down the road. Paved through repeated use, it became the new fastest access to the tunnel.