The Dadaists, especially Marcel Duchamp, tended to embrace acts of chance when it came to their art. One of his pieces, The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even was on glass and partially shattered, which allegedly delighted Duchamp. In this context, the accident involving a metro train outside of Rotterdam that crashed through a barrier and was prevented from plummeting off a bridge and into the surrounding water by a huge sculpture of a whale’s tail, where it came to rest, could be considered a grand Dadaist work. I would advocate the train be left where chance flung it.
The train was in Spijkenisse, rolling into the station just before midnight last night and was empty save for the driver. It’s not yet clear what caused the train to continue moving, even with the tracks coming to an abrupt end so close. But it did keep going, crashing through the barrier; instead of plummeting 30-something feet into the (likely chilly) water below, the train came to rest on the colossal whale tail sculpture.
The work, simply called Whale Tails, is by Dutch artist and architect Maarten Struijs, and it was installed at the De Akkers metro station in, I think 2002, but it may have been started in 1994.
Struijs was interviewed by Dutch national broadcaster NOS, and he said:
“It has been there for almost 20 years and… you actually expect the plastic to pulverise a bit, but that is apparently not the case.”
They didn’t seem to ask him if he felt that the railcar should be made a permanent part of the piece, but I absolutely think it should.
The train could be safely bolted and reinforced on the whale tail, and it would transform a whimsical work into something that is both historic and dramatic.
Besides, think how expensive it would have been if they had tried to lift a metro car up there? Take this as a gift of free labour from capricious chance and run with it.
People will come just to see it! How many artists are so lucky as to have a work be given a whole new life like this?