Ron van de Ven

In Depth (1992, steel)
Tias Building

Ron van de Ven – In diepte (1992, staal)

Anyone traveling by train to the Tilburg University, or parking their car near Tias Building, will encounter a work by Tilburg artist Ron van de Ven (b. 1956) that he created for the university in 1992 when entering the campus. The sculpture was funded under the one percent scheme, whereby one percent of the new building costs is spent on art.

The artwork stood next to the library until 2008, but was moved when the axis between the Warande Forest and the eastern part of the campus was laid out as a continuous avenue (Esplanade). The artwork is constructed of steel plates from three old barges. Those plates are systematically arranged, according to the artist, "a reference to the order inherent in science." The sculpture includes the form of an inverted staircase that disappears at the end into a spiral depth. This was done, says Van de Ven, because science goes into the depths, "literally into the ground." "That's searching for, which science is concerned with," he said.

Looking through the small holes located in two walls, one is involuntarily reminded of the starry sky, remotely similar to the view of the universe from a telescope. Where the steel plates refer to the hard work of the shipping industry and the spiral can be related to depth, the holes stand for the concept of perspective. Thus, in all abstraction, three essential aspects of science—perspective, depth, and hard work—are addressed.

More about history and academic heritage

The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.