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Artist In Rotterdam Creates The Biggest Artwork In The World

Spanning over 36,000 square feet, Arno Coenen’s ‘Horn of Plenty’ is already being referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam.’
May 27, 2014, 2:50pm

Consummatum Est— it is completed. In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, the biggest artwork in the world has just been finished. Entitled Horn of Plenty, the gigantic, brightly colored painting measures over 36,000 square feet.

Already being referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam,' Horn of Plenty spans the entire interior of the indoor market De Markthal, set to open its doors on October 1st.

“You feel just like an insect standing underneath,” explains artist Arno Coenen over the phone. “That’s the idea behind it – that childlike sense of wonder you had when you read Eric in the Land of Insects or Alice in Wonderland.”

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Even before it opens we know it must be an impressive experience to look up in the hall. The Horn of Plenty starts on ground level and expands overhead to the size of two full-sized soccer pitches. Adorned with giant fish, fruit and vegetables, and the occasional mushroom or stray shrimp, the mega-mural depicts the products that will soon be for sale on the market floor.

“As an atheist I believe the source of life originates in the cosmos and not that someone made it all in seven days,” says Coenen. “But at the same time the work does have the same grandeur as the murals of Renaissance churches, only now it is a worship of nature, an ode to the universe. To me that doesn't make it any less impressive or divine.”

Horn of Plenty was created through a combination of product photography, animation and Nuke software. In order to get the immense image to be sharp, enough Coenen turned to Pixar Studios, who rendered the 1.47TB file on a render farm in New Zealand. Over the last month, the artwork has been constructed from a jigsaw puzzle of 4,000 tiles on the building’s interior.

The artist’s plan is to project moving animations on the static image once the building is opened. In the nighttime you can see an enormous moon shining in the middle of the ceiling, corresponding with its actual phases in the night sky. “And we’re going do some seasonal things, like projecting a school of swimming herring in the herring season," says Coenen, "or giant 3D Easter eggs in Easter.”

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For now, the citizens of Rotterdam await the opening of the building in anticipation of the day when they can finally admire their new landmark. “The first reactions are really good. I think the work is comforting in a way. It's as if you’re lying in the grass, looking up at the sun. With the bees and the birds all around you.”

All images courtesy of Ossip Architectuurfotografie, TS Visuals and Provast.

Visit Arno Coenen’s website here.

Visit the website of the Martkhal here.

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