“Art is the lie that reveals reality.” Jeroen Brouwers - “Culture, considered as a process, means acquiring a vast deal of useless knowledge, and then forgetting it.” Albert Jay Nock - “The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.” Douglas Huebler - “In life and in art one has to begin each day anew.” Louis Couperus

Title: Silent Witnesses

photos by Willem Kuijpers and Sjaak Langenberg

Project executed by invitation of the Museum for Religious Art, Uden

UDEN - Following an assignment from the Museum for Religious Art, Sjaak Langenberg and Rosé de Beer developed a plan to translate the aims of the exhibition The Tree, in nature, culture and religion into an art project in De Maashorst, the largest unbroken nature reserve in the province of North Brabant.

Tree worship exists in all sorts and sizes but there are actually two sides to the coin. Some trees are worshipped whilst others end their days as firewood. In nature reserve De Maashorst, many trees which are not native species, are sawn down – with no-one being any the wiser. Whereas in Groningen an alderwoman received death threats following an announcement about tree-felling. The sentiments surrounding tree felling (or the lack of it) expose a double moral – this promotes reflection.

Man is restless, even recreational man, heading in their masses in search of relaxation in the nature reserve De Maashorst. The tree is a beacon of stability. Sjaak Langenberg and Rosé de Beer designed hybrids, a cross between a tree-house and a confessional. The place where 'the reverend father' is replaced by a tree. The art works link the museum with De Maashorst in such a way that walkers and cyclists are made aware of the exhibition and museum visitors head for the woods. The project connects to themes such as 'Healthy spirit in a healthy body' and 'Religious legacies and spirituality' from the Maashorst Manifesto, the future vision for the nature reserve.


Item on website of regional broadcasting station
Frontpage Dutch newspaper Brabants Dagblad: Biechtstoel (Dutch only)
Bomenveller kan te biecht bij boom in het bos (Dutch only)
Bomen luisteren in De Maashorst (Dutch only)
Website MRK (Museum for Religious Art)

© Sjaak Langenberg & Rosé de Beer