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Hebban olla Vogele Nestas Estate Pingjum 2010

Measurements: 3,5 meter x 2,5 m (ensemble of two elements)


Mrs. M. Guise’s words at the unveiling of the artwork

“As you know, I will occasionally stay in Pingjum. In my beautiful garden I roam, I read, cut and prune. I breathe in the scents from the Frisian Land. There used to be an octagonal aviary in the back of my garden, full of exotic birds.. When I came to live here ten years ago, the stone foundation was the only thing that still remembered the aviary. Margot Berkman is a visual artist and has made images that inspires me. They are sweet and elegant. They are often fairy-like figures that refer to the greater desires of this life. I have asked her to look around in my garden to make a work of art for me. Margot has photographed and sketched, worked and she stayed here. Margot told me that my love for literature, the contemplation in my court, my paradise and my love for nature were the inspiration for the artwork.


Margot Berkman:

My inspiration, the medieval carpet series ‘La dame à la Licorne’, tells about universal love and the desire for contemplation through the sixth tapistry entitled ‘A mon seul Désir’. The old presbytery and the 12th century Gothic church of Pingjum, the desire to be there and the vastness and tranquility of the landscape underline that idea. The title of the artwork ‘Hebban olla vogele nestas’ is derived from the oldest line of poetry in Dutch literature:


Quid expectamus nunc
Abent omnes volucres nidos inceptos nisi ego et tu
Hebban olla vogele nestas hagunnan hinase hic
Enda thu wat unbidan we nu

(12 e eeuw, anoniem)


The dutch writer, Gerrit Komrij has written about it so beautifully in his collection ‘in Liefde Bloeyende’: ‘did all birds start building their nests – except me and you – what are we waiting for?’ He investigates the significance of this very first Dutch sentence that has been found on a front cover of a book from the Benedictine abbey of Rochester in Kent, England. Is it a mini-poem, is it about the desire for the warmth of the monastery or is it about a mystical desire of God? Or was it just a monk with spring fever and was this sentence just a ‘probatio pennae?’ The loving monk who has become a poet . Komrij writes: “Read the sentence as it says it. The rhythmic and emotional sequence, contained in a metaphor- and you are like birds- makes this clear concept of thought in a field of tension from sounds to lyricism, to a poem. ‘


Could it be that the poet of these lines in the 12th century wrote this from the tower of the church in Pingjum? The artwork consists of two parts. The first image (h: 3,5m) is on the octagonal foundation of the old aviary. It is a tent, a gate shape containing a paradise bird. The tent is covered with roses. It looks like the hedge of the ‘Hortus Conclusus’, the private garden. Further behind the fence in the second part of the garden, where the trees bear fruit, there is a second bird. The birds look at each other. They know what the monk has written.


I am lying at the Seadeer at Maasvlakte 2 Rotterdam 2010

Measurements: 15 m x 8 m x 8 m


Hi…., where do I see you on the Maasvlakte? ….. ‘I am lying with the Seadeer’


I want to take you along in my search for the designs I made. If you want to come along, close your eyes and lay down on your towel in the warm sand. The sun is shining bright and it’s a beautiful day. A gentle breeze provides cooling, and the seawater is clear. You have your cooler and a good book next to you and your children are happy and excited. 


‘You land – on the beach

I have a collecting tick, I collect stories….Stories about Maasvlakte 2, Stories about Rotterdam, Stories about the sea, and long gone history, Stories that are made up, stories of people.


I collect shapes, objects, drawings and collections, 

Collections that seemingly have nothing to do with each other, 

I make connections that an outsider is not yet able to see. 


I am an archeologist, I dig, deeper and deeper, I dig up connections, the images and the stories, that are all hidden in the cubic meters of sprayed sand from the Maasvlakte 2. I dig in musea, in the meaning of La dame à la Licorne, I dig in the role of the senses of desire, I dig to the beauty of paradise, the Hortus Conclusus.


I am an artist, From my own being I imagine my own desire to create paradisiacal places with art. 

Especially for visitors to Maasvlakte 2, to play with ideas, backgrounds and meanings.

Images that stimulate fantasy in an elegant way. Recognizable and rich.

Here stands my sculpture.



A mon seul Désir © Berkman en Janssens 2010, for the Mayor of Utrecht

Measurements: 12,5 m x 2,5 m x 3,5 m


The Farewell Gift of Mayor MRS. Brouwer-Korf to the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands by Berkman en Janssens in 2010.


The inspiration for the artwork ‘A mon seul Désir’, is the desire (Désir) of Mrs. Brouwer to donate an artwork the Utrecht district Leidsche Rijn where people can meet each other. ‘A mon seul Désir’ is one of six carpets from the medieval carpet series ‘La Dame à la Licorne’. In the carpet series, Berkman and Janssens found all kinds of references to Mrs Brouwer and her desire to bring art to Leidsche Rijn.


The carpet from Musée de Cluny

The lady puts her jewelry on the tapistry (Mrs Brouwer lays down her symbolic necklace) and the tent-like residence where the lady can seek shelter and receive visitors. (meeting place). The environment in which the lady is sitting on the carpet (a Hortus) also corresponds to the place where the artwork is placed. The translation of this medieval source of inspiration into a modern, inventive and fairytale work of art for the public space is characteristic of the method of work of Berkman and Janssens.


Cooperation Landscape Architects

In close cooperation with the Project Office Leidsche Rijn and Landscape Architects Lodewijk Baljon, the most attractive location for the artwork in Park Leeuwesteyn was chosen; in the middle of the park with a view of the water.


 ‘A mon seul Désir’

The concrete bench is 12.5 m long, 2.5 m wide and the height is 45 cm. Colorful ceramic tiles are casted in concrete to create a nice shiny seat surface. In the middle of the bench, in the longitudinal direction, there are 7 figurative white sculptures that together represent the senses ‘the smell, the taste, the seeing and the hearing’. The white images are made of 2 cm thick steel and have a glossy white coating. The size of the entire image group is approximately 11 meters long. The highest image (the tree) is about 3 meters high.



Book ‘A mon seul Désir’

Art classes and Exhibition of art classes for young people from Via Nova College in Leidsche Rijn.


Salone de Mobile Milaan Yearbook Textiellab 2012


‘Washed ashore’ serie in Yearbook 2012 Textiellab Salone di Mobile Milaan.


Errol van de Werdt from the Textile Museum in Tilburg presented the first copy of Yearbook TextielLab 2012 during the Salone di Mobile in Milan. (Design: Raw Color)


‘Washed ashore’, the soft-sculpture seaweedseries by Margot Berkman is part of this presentation. The Yearbook presents the most striking textile art / fashion / architecture / projects that were produced in the past year.


Artists: BOZAR architecture, Kiki van Eijk, Thonik, Bernotat & Co, Schiphol Real estate, Apto, Studio Samira Boon. Karin van Dam, Q8 HQ benelux, D&Z Architecten, Sara Vrught, Margot Berkman, Walter van den Beirendonk, Marga Weimans, LEW, Masterclass Jan Taminiau, Selina van Grondelle, Linda Valkeman, Ursula Wagner, Niels Heijmans, Emilie Pallard, BCXSY, Lenneke Langenhuijsen, Martijn van Strien, Colette Vermeulen, Satoki Kuwano, Lola Barré, Chrissie Houtkoper, Sabine Staartjes, Mohammed Barach, Ton van der Borcht, Dagmara Stephan, Conny Groenewegen , Aya Nonogaki, Pierre Antoine Vettorello, ea…


Masterpiece © Berkman en Janssens 2009 de Bilt

Measurement: 120 m2


The transience of things: Memento Mori


This design of Berkman en Janssens is inspired by the craftsmanship and projects of the painting company of Johan van Doorn and by the meaning of the Daffodil in the flower still life paintings from the 16th century. The artwork ‘Masterpiece’ consists of 3 large floor-paintings with daffodils and poppies. In a grid of sleek white lines, the virtuoso forms of the flowers can be seen in full bloom and in the bud.

The Birds from Kattenburg © Berkman en Janssens 2009 Rochdale Amsterdam

Measurements: 25 m x 3 m


A cheerful steel fence, new lighting and tiles with singing orange birds on the walls – art piece of Berkman en Janssens



The Kattenburg birds’ increase social security in the neighbourhood. The birds placed on top of the fence provide a real ‘ garden feeling’ and prevent the fence from being seated.

La Vue © Berkman en Janssens 2009 for Rochdale IJburg Amsterdam

Bouncing white monkeys and green leaves decorate the walls.


Housing association Rochdale commissioned Berkman and Janssens in 2009 to decorate their properties with works of art at both IJburg and Amsterdam Centrum.


The designs made by the artists were the source of inspiration for the art lessons for children from that neighbourhood. They  have made their own collages and learned about the symbolic meaning of the animals.



Amor en Fortuna © Berkman en Janssens 2010 Vianen bicycle tunnel

Measurements: 90 m x 3,5 m


Amor Fati – Love for the destiny


This fairytale like bicycle tunnel with still-lives of white elephants and monkeys and golden four-leaf clovers  adorns the public area of Vianen. Six large still lives of steel sculptures have been installed in the tunnel.



The source of inspiration of the artist duo Berkman en Janssens is derived the history of Vianen. In the Middle Ages Vianen was a Freecity. Many people in search for better opportunities and looking for happiness moved towards Vianen. When travelers walked into the city, they often had great stories about traveling through foreign countries with exotic habits and wondrous animals such as tigers and elephants. Some elephants carried tiny houses on their backs. The elephant became the symbol of travel and luck.


From the research preceding the final design is the following text: Amor Fati is a Latin expression meaning “love for the destiny”, the loving of the inevitable and is best known from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche .


In German:

Liebe das, was nothwendig ist” – amor fati dies wäre meine Moral, thue ihm alles Gute an und hebe es über seine schreckliche Herkunft hinauf zu dir.”


In Die fröhliche Wissenschaft: “Ich will immer mehr lernen, das Nothwendige an den Dingen als das Schöne sehen: – so werde ich Einer von Denen sein, welche die Dinge schön machen. Amor fati: das sei von nun an meine Liebe! Ich will keinen Krieg gegen das Hässliche führen. Ich will nicht anklagen, ich will nicht einmal die Ankläger anklagen. Wegsehen sei meine einzige Verneinung! Und, Alles in Allem und Grossen; ich will irgendwann einmal Nur noch ein Ja-Sagender sein.”