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  • Leonie Lemor

Broodje Aap: Moved

Imagination meets the physical structures of Amsterdam - stories of things and non-things in the city. They are true if you want them to be true.

Where the Clercqstraat meets the Kostverlorenkade, you can find a white chair right next to the bridge, along the edge of the canal, and in front of the Spelletjes cafe. It is made out of wood and the backrest consists of multiple thin braces that leave the seating surface like steep sun rays in the morning. Although clearly meant to be inside (maybe at the top of a white wooden table), it ended up here - outside, exposed to rain and wind and dust and more.

If it could speak, it would perhaps tell us about the day when it had been bought by Lea, the woman that lived above the Spelletjes cafe. She had just moved and she really wanted the core colour of her appartment’s interior to be white, so she bought the chair. It found its place in the corner of the room, overlooking other white pieces of furniture and white window frames. Eventually, it became THE chair, meaning that all clothing that was still too fresh to be washed but not fresh enough for the wardrobe would temporarily be stored here, together with towels, jackets, belts, and an assortment of many more things. The thin sunray braces carried everything patiently. The chair became a sturdy companion, a reliable roommate, an essential piece within the ensemble of whiteness in the apartment. But then Daan arrived. Daan started to be around more frequently, and although Lea didn’t see it, Daan did not fit into the theme. Daan, dirty Daan, left stains everywhere. His clothes and skin were never really clean and everyone knows that doesn’t go well with white. After a while, a brown spot appeared on the table in the middle of the room where Daan would rest his wrist after he had taken a puff from his cigarette. Or footprints on the white wooden floor, an army of dirty spots from dirty Daan. And then the day came when Lea decided that white was just a phase and changed to dark green. First the couch disappeared, then the carpet underneath the table got exchanged, and then Lea and dirty Daan painted the walls. Just when the chair thought itself safe, a pair of never washed hands grabbed it, carried it down the narrow staircase and vigorously put it down behind the tree and on the edge of the canal where it still stands today. Now, not covered in clothes, but instead with dust from the streets that makes its once so shiny surface appear slightly more grey than white, the chair found itself exiled, spat out onto the streets of Amsterdam.

Here, somewhat inaccessible behind all the bikes and facing the water, the chair has had to accept its fate. Luckily, another wooden chair has recently joined its new home. I wonder what has brought it here. Next time I’ll ask.

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