Follow the restoration process of Ferdi's Hortisculptures in Bonnefanten. Why? Keep reading!

Short Doc: Restoring Ferdi

Who is Ferdi and why did she make Hortisculptures? That and more in this Bonnefanten Short Doc. Updated version October 2023

Bonnefanten collected six out of fifteen Hortisculptures and thus has the largest collection of works by Ferdi. Unfortunately, the sculptures have been in moderate to poor condition for quite some time. In 2018, SRAL fully restored the Damsel Dragonfly (1967). In 2021, the Bonnefanten had two other Hortisculptures cleaned, after which it decided that it was due time for a thorough restoration of the entire collection.

Ferdi and her Hortisculptures, 1968. Photo by Leonard Freed

Ferdi (1927 Arnhem - Baarlo 1969) was born as Ferdina Jansen in 1927 in Arnhem. A free-spirited young woman, she dropped her surname after the Second World War and exchanged the Netherlands for London and Paris.

Ferdi amongst her Hortisculptures. Photo: Leonard Freed

Ferdi, Shigiory Torbinata - pre-restoration

Ferdi has a striking appearance and an engaging personality. In Paris, she soon finds herself in the company of Cobra painters and Vijftigers such as Karel Appel and Hugo Claus. She took lessons from the famous sculptor Ossip Zadkine and taught herself welding. She had success with jewellery made of iron, mostly inspired by insects.

Hortisculptures in the Stedelijk Museum, 1968

A trip through America and Mexico in 1965 was a turning point. The lush vegetation and bright colours of Mexico made a deep impression on Ferdi and she threw herself back into the welding business. Now, she created human-sized constructions which she covered with silk and artificial fur. This is how her famous Hortisculptures came into being: flower and plant-like forms with explicitly present sexual organs, creating sensual hybrids between plants and animals.

In the spring of 1968, Ferdi exhibited her sculptures in a solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In early 1969, Ferdi died unexpectedly and it became quiet around her work. This only changed when female art historians began to focus on the forgotten oeuvres of female artists at the end of the 1980s.

Now, more than 40 years later, you can follow the restoration of her extraordinary oeuvre live in Bonnefanten. Come and have a look at the live restoring in weeks 42, 43, 44, 1 and 2!


Restoring Ferdi

Follow the restoration process of Ferdi's Hortisculptures in Bonnefanten. Why? Keep reading!


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