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Sarah van Sonsbeeck
The pedestal for imperfect (2021)

Golden Coach could be considered a “golden pedestal” for the monarchy, says Sarah van Sonsbeeck. For centuries, gold has been associated with wealth, power, and purity. The coach places the monarch somewhat higher than the onlooking subjects—also literally. Van Sonsbeeck decided to create a counterpart to the recently restored, carefully protected coach.

This bench in the boys’ courtyard of the former City Orphanage surrounds a linden tree planted on the occasion of Queen Wilhelmina’s inauguration in 1898. Van Sonsbeeck gilded the bench, which is accessible to everyone and encircles the living monument of a tree that has existed just as long as the Golden Coach itself. Steadily growing, the tree has kept pace with the times as well as shifts in thought. The artist calls into question our ideas about perfection and heritage by creating a temporary and changeable monument. An essential part of the work is its democratic and interactive character: visitors are permitted to scratch a message in the thin layer of gold leaf, for example with a key, and in doing so “exchange” their contribution for a miniscule amount of the precious metal.

Sarah van Sonsbeeck (Utrecht, Netherlands 1976) uses gold as a medium for minimalist works which engage in a dialogue with both their surroundings and topical issues. s.

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