This documentary concerns a mural completed in 1995 by Rob Scholte, Holland’s Andy Warhol. We follow the progress of the 2,000 square metro, doodle in a Dutch theme park in Nagasaki, hardly believing the bad taste of the maritime apocalypse Scholte chooses as his theme.
Seventeenth century man-of-wars confront helicopter gunships against a backdrop of mushrooming clouds and imperilled humanity. The opening establishes all too well the deranged post-modernity of this freakish work, sited in a replica of a Dutch royal palace, as well as Scholte’s approval of the architectural Hollandaise around it.
Things go radically off the rails and the emotional temperature soars when a Japanese photographer peels back Scholte’s trouser legs to get a clearer shot of his amputee’s stumps. The artist responds with a stream of bitter, and wholly justified, invective. Instantly darker, the film departs the theme park for the scene of the unsolved crime that robbed Scholte of his legs in 1994.
We leam something of his gadfly role in Dutch art and of his militancy for artistic freedom in the face of anonymous, but clearly genuine, threats to life. Uncomfortable viewing ensues as the artist and his wife pick over a bomb-wrecked car, looking for a pregnancy test-kit – their last link to the child she was carrying at the time of the blast.
Bad art; good story.
The Sydney Morning Herald, October 27, 1997
The Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney, New South Wales
Monday, October 27, 1997