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For the length of the read
Renate Dorrestein

The selected text for the Renate Dorrestein (1954-2018) column – ‘For the length of the read’ – derives from her book ‘The writer’s secret’ (2000). In the book, the writer affords insight into ‘writing processes and the secret effect of fiction’.

The phrase ‘for the length of the read’ can typify ‘authorship’ in general and her oeuvre in particular. Particularly in this book, where ‘writing about writing’ plays a prominent role. Moreover, by incorporating the aphorism into an artwork that is literally and figuratively about viewing and ‘reading’ this artwork, the text acquires a possibly essential and very special stratification posing all manner of questions.
What is meant by an artwork inscribed with ‘for the length of the read’? And how is the inscription of this column compatible with the aphorism on another column placed nearby? It depends on how you look at it, it is just how you see it.
There is, so to speak, a purposely intended ‘ambiguous’, ‘equivocal’ and ‘contradictory’ poetic connection in the chosen sequence of the columns. The above combination provides a striking example: ‘For the length of the read’ and ‘It was always like that’.



‘For the length of the read’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.


Renate Dorrestein (1954-2018), was a writer. In 1983, Dorrestein made her debut as a novelist. In 1993, Dorrestein received the Annie Romein award for her entire oeuvre. In 1997, she wrote the Book Week gift: ‘Want dit is mijn lichaam’ (‘Because this is my body’) and her Book Week essay: ‘Laat me niet alleen’ (‘Don’t leave me alone’) was published in 2008.

Artwork: You Are Here
Artist: Martijn Sandberg
Material: concrete
Measurements: (lxwxh) 80cm x 80cm x 40cm
Project: Legacy of the Twentieth Century
Realisation and completion: 2019
Location: Oranje Vrijstaatkade, Oostpoort, Amsterdam
Commissioned by: Amsterdam Municipality, District Oost