Art in public space
Railway station RAI Amsterdam

Anne Huijnen & 
Anna de Jong

Commissioned by: ProRail, Realisation work: M2uur, Project manager: Ramon Kuipers, Guidance artists: Henk de Vroom (adviser art in public space), Tanja Karremans and Evelien de Munck Mortier (Adviseur Bureau Spoor­bouwmeester), Financier work: ProRail, NS en Zuidas, Architect new additions station Rai: Paul van der Ree, SK Studio Movares


The interesting thing about Station Amsterdam RAI is that it attracts a diverse audience. In addition to employees from the business district and commuters, it attracts an ever changing group of conference delegates, ranging from visitors of the “Huishoudbeurs” or AutoRAI to the KunstRAI. Their passage through the station will be a performance on the stage of 'Polly’s Picture Show'. ”
In the work ‘Mise en scène’ we chose the station as the specific place and took the codes of travelers as a subject. This work is a theater of travel. Often a hurried traveler will, unaware of his part in the play, run up the stairs to catch a train. Another will be waiting and observe this spectacle against the scenic background and experience this as a scene. On RAI station you are placed in ‘Mise en scène’: as a traveler, actor and spectator.

In our studio we built models of the two walls, which we then colored and photographed. The two prints are mounted on the east and west side of the station in a mosaic of different surfaces, in which existing doors, staircases, information and lettering are included. New walls were made, and light boxes and plates were mounted, making the images in the photos come to life. The color scheme is subtle, a series of photographed shadows that complement shades of pink, blue and yellow while the actual shadows of the projecting parts, the station interior and passing travelers are included effortlessly as part of the work. As said by the title, the work is literally a ‘Mise en scène’ (the visible elements in a scene). First, the photo prints show props and set pieces, highlighted by the boards and walls, in which the photos are mounted.
It not only makes the work an image of a scene: the
 wall and everything around it becomes a stage in itself. Second, the work is a ‘Mise en scène’ as travelers, who are actors for the props, move across the stage.