DE NOR (2018)
De Nor is a social sculpture made by Dennis Tyfus and FVWW Architects, housed at Middelheim Museum / open air sculpture park. When activated, it houses concerts, performances, lectures, book- and record presentations and parties, when not activated it remains part of the museum’s collection.
Here’s what Sis Matthé wrote about De Nor when it just opened in 2018:
The 248th Ultra Eczema release is De Nor, a recent permanent sculpture at the Middelheim Museum, part of the group exhibition Experience Traps in the summer of 2018, in collaboration with architects FVWW. In one image, De Nor captures many of the aspects of Dennis Tyfus’s work. It’s a sculpture, but also a place for organizing events, and in that sense it perfectly fits the series of places in which Tyfus has been involved in the last twenty years. It’s a sculptural version of Tyfus the organizer. De Nor is composed of a number of basic elements, all of them shaped in a very particular way. First, we see a fence, an enclosure made out of one thousand poles. If we enter through one of the gates, we see a red-travertine floor, which serves as a stage, engraved with a drawing by Tyfus. Then there is a concrete stand for the audience, a bar under it,and a neon-light name. The name is a product of Tyfus’s fascination with the word “nor” [slammer, joint, nick, pen, jail], of his preference for cartoon language.It’s an explicit choice to install De Nor at the edge of the park, right next to the main entrance. Just like Gunther or Stadslimiet (spaces he ran with Vaast Colson), the space squeezes itself into the open-air museum in a pretty impossible way. The edge of the park becomes a checkpoint at the border. The work is a floodgate or a lock, a transit home for people who wash up, wait and move on, stay and go. The exact location is largely decided by the shape of the park, by the location of the trees. The fence winds itself through the trees. The stand and the travertine stage are located in a clearing.De Nor is an enclosed space with a porous border. Some trees are suddenly part of De Nor, and some of the rhododendrons will have to find each other through the fence. Two gates provide some clarity. One makes sure De Nor can be accessed from the sculpture park, during the opening hours. This gate is closed when the other gate opens De Nortowards the street. The second gate is an alternative entrance to the park, left of the main entrance. When the second gate is open to the street, the park is reduced to the size ofDe Nor, an intimate place, half hidden in the bushes.The stand welcomes the spectators, who come for what’s happening on stage, heads in the foliage. The bar quenches people’sthirst. These are the necessary elements of a place Tyfus loves, the rudimentary building blocks to bring people together. What’s crucial, of course, are the events and the people going there as performers or spectators. The summer of 2018 was a long sequence of open-air concerts, readings, and performances.