Tom Claassen (Heerlen, 1964) has been making sculptures for public spaces for more than thirty years, including the famous Olifanten (Elephants) from 1999-2000 along the A6/A27 at Almere. Rocky Lumps is a seminal work in his oeuvre.
Endearing little man
When viewed up close, the elements of Rocky Lumps II resemble an abstract rocky landscape worn smooth by the weather. But seen from above, they form a little man partially sunk into the ground, with a head, large feet and parts of a torso, legs and arms in between.
First version made of concrete
Claassen made the first version of Rocky Lumps in 2005. It was acquired in 2006 and given a place in the sculpture garden, near the Rietveld pavilion. The much-loved work of white pigmented concrete proved unable to withstand the climate and the many children who liked to climb on it. In 2015, in consultation with the artist, Rocky Lumps was declared a 'total loss'.
More durable pink quartzite
It was immediately decided that a new Rocky Lumps was needed. The material chosen was the more durable pink quartzite. A new location was found on the French Hill, also in the sculpture garden. In a low-lying part of the ‘hill’, Rocky Lumps II is placed straight across the path, so that visitors literally walk through the work. The height difference in the terrain makes it easier to see the half-buried man.
Placement on the French Hill
Not only was it quite an operation to get the 27.5 m³ of stone to the Netherlands, but placing the 25 organic, polished forms in a difficult to access and vulnerable area was also a challenge. In August and September 2021, the placement was carried out with respect for the flora and fauna. In the documentary below, you can see in 7 minutes how the work was installed on the new site.
⚙️Do you prefer subtitles? Start the video and choose your language (Dutch/English).
The realization of Rocky Lumps II was made possible thanks in part to a large private contribution and the participants of the Vriendenloterij.