"In het Zomerpark" (In the Summer Park) is the name that Cordaan has given to its new nursing centre in Nieuw-Vennep. And, indeed, you walk straight from the building into the Summer Park. On the edge of the park the landscape architect Jan van der Frift designed a series of enclaves bordered by plane trees. Four of these form the decor for the series of sculptures that Rob Birza made specially for this spot.
As often in Birza’s work, the sculptures possess a large degree of ambiguity. The wide pedestals integrated into the sculptures invite one to sit on them. In order to achieve powerful works Birza appropriates images from all times and continents. In the series in Nieuw-Vennep he brings together popular mass culture and Tantric, Hindu and Buddhist sculpture. Meaning is created precisely at the point where there is tension between these styles.
On one of the pedestals is a picket fence from which hands stick out, as though it concerned a partly worked out, dancing Shiva. Seen in this way the elephant trunk protruding from a cartoon-like house could belong to Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant, who is evoked to remove obstacles. Or maybe to Dumbo, the flying elephant? A snout sticks out from a vase-like shape - a holy cow, the steer Nandi or a Golden Calf film trophy? A coiled snake clings to the fourth sculpture. It reminds one of a petrol pump, but could just as well refer to Patanjali, the father of yoga, who is constantly accompanied by the kundalini snake symbolising the life-force that establishes itself in you when you meditate.
It is as though these figurative forms are packed up, for another time or another place. Concealed, and with limitations. But also wrapped, protected, taken good care of. Contained within a single skin which looks different in all seasons. These sculptures by Birza are casings.