Bert Hermans
Oil on linen
120 x 100 cm

For the creation of this work, Bert was inspired by the Vessel (TKA). The Vessel is a public structure and landmark that was built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Construction began in April 2017; it opened on March 15, 2019. Designed by the British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb.
For the creation of the painting Bert started with two ideas.
The first idea was to build the Vessel in Rotterdam. The Dutch habour city that's famous for its architecture. For that reason you will find various sights from the platform with a view over the modern city of Rotterdam.
The second idea was that because of its round and hollow structure, the Vessel has several similarities with a panopticon. The panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The scheme of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all the inmates' cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times. Thus, they are effectively compelled to regulate their own behaviour. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, and asylums, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a panopticon prison. It is his prison that is now most widely meant by the term "panopticon". For this reason Bert painted an eye in the central hall of the building.