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Wim T. Schippers
Wim T. Schippers (1942) is a visual artist, author, and theatre, radio, and television maker. He is known for things such as: - 1962: emptying a bottle of lemonade into the sea near Petten. - 1967: television programme Hoepla with a naked Phil Bloom. - 1971: television programme The Fred Haché Show - 1974: Sjef van Oekels Discohoek - 1984-91: radio programme Ronflonflon with Jacques Plafond. - 1986: theatre show Going to the Dogs with dogs as actors. - 1989: comedy series We zijn weer thuis [We’re home again] - (with Schippers himself as Simon Raaspit) - The voice of Ernie (from Bert and Ernie) and Kermit the Frog (from the Muppet Show) in children’s programme Sesame Street. - 1995-2002: presenter of the National Science quiz.
Reprobus is Christopher
The giant Reprobus brought the child Christ across the river and was then baptised by Him in the river. From that moment his name became: Christopher, which means: he who carried Christ. St Christopher is the patron saint of travellers, all participants in traffic, carpenters, painters, pilgrims, fruit growers, bookbinders, treasure hunters, hagbut shooters, milliners, gardeners, and children. He is the patron saint against contagious diseases, sudden death, the plague, drought, hail, flooding, fires, eye diseases, toothache, and of the inhabitants of Roermond. A statue of the saint with Christ on his shoulders graces the top of the cathedral there. Roermond is the home to the only St. Christopher Cathedral in the world.
Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Culture
The stone by Wim T. Schippers is called ‘Het Is Me Wat’ [Unbelievable]. The artist collaborated with the Technical University in Delft on the development of a so-called mechatronic piece of equipment with magnetic operating system that apparently resolves gravity. The work was made for the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Culture and was unveiled on 16 December 1999. The civil servants vandalised the work, and in 2006 it was decided to transfer it to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. It was placed there in 2009, after undergoing a facelift at the TU Delft, in the entrance hall, where it can be viewed free of charge. From 1 May to 31 October 2010, the stone was on show in the Dutch Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In addition to Het Is Me Wat, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen’s collection also contains a relief, an assembly, 15 drawings, 5 films from the ‘sixties, and 55 videos of television programmes from the period 1978-2000 by Wim T. Schippers.
The visual language of Hieronymus Bosch
At first glance, the visual language of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) seems bizarre and strange. There have been all sorts of theories proposed about the psychic condition of the artist. Whether he was involved with a heathen sect. Or could he have been on drugs? More thorough research, however, shows that the visual language of Bosch can be explained by Medieval stories, poems, expressions, and sayings. The strange tree, for example, with a dove cot, a beehive, a chicken on a spit, and a broken vase. In the middle ages, a dove cot was another name for a brothel and a dove was a prostitute. The chicken on the spit and the broken jug also had to do with sex. ‘Skewing a chicken on a spit’ or ‘breaking a jug’ were both expressions for sex. Perhaps the tree with all its details is an illustration of the devil who tries to tempt St Christopher with sexual offences and other evil. The saint had to withstand the satanic outside world in order to serve God. The lower part of the tree should be interpreted positively. The small chapel and the ladder laying on the ground show that Christopher is not planning on climbing to the top.
It is something of a miracle that your hair falls downwards and that your feet go to the ground when you want to walk. Wim T. Schippers says this to security guard Arie in the 13th - and last - episode of Boijmans TV. His piece of art is located in the entrance hall of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen: an enormous stone that floats above a plinth. Or in other words: an enormous stone that defies gravity. That’s weird. That’s not possible. How on earth... When Arie wants to make a stone float, it drops to the ground with a hard thump. Artist Jos van Ginneken, who surprises Mandy at the reception desk with a prototype of his Floating is Living, needs a thread to visualise the bond between mother and child. And also the small group of listeners who are treated by Bregje to the old legend of Christopher and new stores about Hieronymus Bosch, are kept upright by strings. The miracle of gravity can just as well be described as a force that constantly presses everything downwards against which everybody is fighting. Anyway, despite the heavy theme of this last Boijmans TV, Wim T. Schipper brings the series to an end with a enthusiastic farewell.
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