Marcin Dudek: The Cathedral of Human Labor

About This Project

In December 2013 a bus with 50 people traveled towards Antwerp for the opening of Marcin Dudek’s land art installation at the Verbeke Foundation.

– text courtesy of Anna Stueler Tacke


Leading from an inconspicuous spot beside the motorway, this underground sculpture provides a permanently open hidden passageway into the grounds of the Verbeke Foundation, through a sound barrier hill. Cathedral of Human Labour is a cheerfully collaged piece of land art, built from approximately 60 tons of wood initially used as temporary supports for the concrete construction of a railway tunnel in the infrastructure of Antwerp harbour. The tunnel’s warped and ragged, seemingly rough, interior is claustrophobically reminiscent of trenches, narco-tunnels, passages of flight, echoing the state of mental turbulence encountered at border controls. Due to Dudek’s anti-readymade passion for construction and craftsmanship, the walls have a distinctly sculptural quality. Each carefully composed metre of the walls can be perceived as a collage in itself. While some parts call Gothic cathedrals or Expressionist architecture to mind, others seem to be collapsing or frozen in movement, as if a revolving door were about to open. Inside there is a sealed door from behind which the tunnel will be further excavated in the future.