Timo Demollin, Turns, 2022*

*Art in the stairwell.

In 2020, Timo Demollin (1988) bought 20 wooden doorknobs from around 1880 to 1919, originally from Sint Jacobs Gasthuis, now the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Turns is a series of six abstract wall sculptures based on these doorknobs, created by artisanal wood turners from Schiedam and Rotterdam. The four rounder sculptures were made on a wood-turning lathe, while the two oval shapes were created using a computer-controlled milling machine.

Doorknobs are characterised by their ability to aid access, but also the power to lock and prevent entry. These sculptures refer to this separation, experienced by the people who lived in Sint Jacobs Gasthuis, an almshouse , where men and women occupied different wings even if they were married. The installation also refers to Schiedam’s historic wood industry, traces of which can still be found in the museum’s collection. In the past, there was even a room in the basement that was used as a wood workshop and barrel-making space for the genever industry.

The title Turns can be understood literally as the rotating of doorknobs, but also as the technique of woodworking where wood is shaped as it rotates at speed. It can also allude to the shifts and turns in the museum’s programming which has changed significantly over time alongside the building in which it’s housed.

The 20 original doorknobs can be found at the bottom of the stairwell, incorporated into a formal grid in a display case, itself referencing the museum’s collection of work by the Zero artist’s group.

Timo Demollin (1988)
Turns, 2022
Hand-turned sycamore, spruce, larch and elm; CNC-turned and -milled tulipwood; hand-turned and CNC-milled mahogany

Manufactured by local and regional woodturners Maarten den Breeijen, Jasper Kaarsemaker, Marisa Klaster, Tijn Remmerswaal, Doornekamp Wood Specials, and Woodwave.

Made possible thanks to a generous contribution on behalf of Piet and Ida Sanders-Sanders.

Image: Timo Demollin, Turns, 2022. Photograph: Gerrit