Zuidas Lives

The development of Zuidas, painted

Ineke Hofste paints architectural landscapes, and there is not a single human figure to be seen in her works. For a former sociologist, that’s quite something. She decided to become an artist at the age of 55. Her work can be seen in the Central Lobby of the WTC.

You can view ten of her larger paintings, all inspired by Zuidas, at the entrance to the A Tower and in the underground corridor between the A and H Towers. The paintings are the culmination of the artist’s years of fascination with the development of the urban landscape in Zuidas.

A fascination with construction

In the 1990s, Ineke Hofsté was studying social sciences just around the corner from Zuidas, at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. As she walked from Amsterdam Zuid station to the university campus, she became intrigued by the first buildings to go up, such as the ABN AMRO office, on an area of land that was otherwise still completely empty. Hofste grew up with construction and building, because her family is in the trade. She still follows developments in Zuidas closely, but now, as a professional artist, her sense of dimension and aesthetic rhythm draws her to the construction of these new buildings. New buildings that are still completely covered by scaffolding appeal to her imagination. This is because the building still holds promise at this stage, and you never know which direction it could take, says Hofste.

'Scaffolding’ by Ineke Hofste

Zuidas panorama

Hofste explains how she approaches her work, starting from that feeling of fascination. ‘In early 2019, I got off the metro at Amstelveenseweg. I had just heard on the news that investors and the NS had plans to develop the use of stations. And although the plans for Amsterdam Zuid station are very different, my attention was drawn to the enormous expanse of the A10 motorway, with the tram and metro lines balanced in between. That inspired me to make a series of sketches and paintings, including two panorama paintings that are almost two metres wide, which will be displayed at the WTC in the next few months.’ She has also painted the new nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel and the The Rock building – now several years old. Usually in acrylic, she paints the buildings in a figurative style that borders on the abstract, using rhythmic vertical and horizontal lines. Or, in the words of the jury for the Herman Krikhaar Prize, which Hofste has won twice: ‘Using a lightness of touch, the artist is able to add a certain softness to the powerful lines in her work.’

Lines, angles and structures

But why are there no people in these urban landscapes? ‘Well, I’m drawn to many different things,’ says Hofste. ‘I see the big picture, but also the details. The around-the-clock activity, the sleek modernity – all of that appeals to me. For me it’s all about the composition of the buildings. I like the variety, the angles and the slanted lines. It’s true, I’m a sociologist and I’m fascinated by people too, but that’s not what my works are about. Human figures would be out of place. For me, it’s all about the structure and the repetition. In that respect, painting is about elimination. My role is that of an accidental passer-by, who is witnessing the development of Zuidas.’

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