press release

The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour, a participatory project by the Slovene artist and architect Marjetica Potrč (b. 1953) and Wilde Westen, a group of young designers, architects and cultural producers, combines visual art and social architecture to redefine the village green. Community vegetable gardens become a tool by which the residents of Amsterdam Nieuw West reclaim ownership of their neighbourhood at a time when demolition and redevelopment are causing many to feel uprooted. In the 1950s, the garden city of Nieuw West was constructed on former farmland as a modernist project; today this Amsterdam suburb is one of the largest residential redevelopment sites in Europe. With their project The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour, Potrč and Wilde Westen, in collaboration with the residents of the multicultural Geuzenveld–Slotermeer district, reflect on this history and celebrate a return to local food production. Here, farming and cooking are viewed as a way for people to share knowledge and traditions, and a means for the cultural renewal and rebirth of the neighbourhood. Beginning April 18, 2009, the house at Lodewijk Van Deysselstraat 61, in Slotermeer, will be a meeting point open to the Cook, the Farmer, his Wife and their Neighbours, friends and guests, as well as those involved in the many local initiatives already taking place in Nieuw West.

Marjetica Potrč studied in her native city of Ljubljana, first as an architect and later as a visual artist. Her way of working follows a movement in the art world that places an emphasis on interactivity and participation, often with a social orientation. In recent years, she has carried out projects in Caracas (Venezuela), Rajasthan (India) and New Orleans (USA). She often works in collaboration with local communities and usually focuses on daily life in the city, on living and infrastructure. Potrč seeks out practical solutions for everyday problems, such as water and electricity supply. One example of her approach is the “Dry Toilet”, which she developed in informal city of Caracas, is one of a series of community-focused on-site projects by Potrc that are characterized by participatory design and a concern with sustainability issues, particularly in relation to energy and water infrastructures. Her preparatory drawings increasingly form an important part of her oeuvre; she has been invited by Daniel Birnbaum to display a large selection of her drawings at the Venice Biennale this year. Potrc won the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize in 2000 and exhibited her work in the accompanying exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. See

Wilde Westen is a collective group of young designers, architects and cultural producers. They work together to push the boundaries of their profession and engage in urban development, with a particular focus on the renewal of Amsterdam Nieuw West. Wilde Westen’s ethos is based on an open, dynamic and participatory process that responds to the urban and social context, developing along with it. Wilde Westen collaborates with entrepreneurs, designers, housing corporations, researchers, council authorities, contractors, developers and investors, in order to achieve the collective’s aims of promoting entrepreneurship and a vibrant environment for living and working, strengthening the local economy and creating connections with education, city-wide initiatives, global developments, and alternative models for urban renewal. In 2008, Wilde Westen began a study with the theme of ‘Enterprise gardens’, focused on Amsterdam Nieuw West. This research resulted in a strategy that has developed into the project with Potrc. The members of Wilde Westen are: Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg, Reinder Bakker, Hester van Dijk, Lucia Babina and Henriette Waal. See

only in german

The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour
Marjetica Potrč en Wilde Westen
Amsterdam Nieuw West

Künstler: Marjetica Potrc / Wilde Westen  (Lucia Babina, Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg, Reinder Bakker, Hester van Dijk, Henriette Waal)