Dwarsgrachten Java-eiland
Oostelijk Havengebied
Guy Rombouts & Monica Droste
Paul Wintermans
Gemeentelijk Grondbedrijf Amsterdam
Cultuur, Infra

Ornamental bridges at Java-eiland

The four canals that traverse Java-eiland can be crossed via black wrought-iron bridges.

In total there are nine bridges, designed by the Belgian artists Guy Rombouts and Monica Droste. In their work, they cause the boundary between art and language to blur. In the bridges, this is expressed in a so-called formal alphabet, the Azart. With this, the artists have sought to restore the relationship between the alphabet and visible reality. They have identified forms with letters, as a result of which the bridges as a whole form a word. The bridge on the south side of Brantasgracht, for example, represents ‘science’. As a result, no bridge is the same. Anyone who knows nothing about the alphabet will, however, never be able to decipher the language. The typical pedestrian with no knowledge of the deeper idea will therefore find the bridges frivolous.

The decorated bridges contrast sharply with the solid, brick bridges by Paul Wintermans on the north side of the island, used by motorized traffic. And yet Wintermans was also responsible for converting the artistic design by Rombouts and Droste into an architectural structure.