Lockdown with Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren in Haarlem

Jaap Sinke and Ferry van Tongeren of Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren (DSvT) share their lockdown experience  . . .

Where were you pre-lockdown?

We were skinning animals in a zoo in Italy as the crisis over there unfolded. It turned from zones of yellow to orange to red until total lockdown. We were able to leave at one hour before midnight when the border would be closed: a true race against the clock.

What did you find most difficult about lockdown?

The most difficult aspect for us was – and is – that we are not able to install works abroad. We have a couple of commissioned works for the US and the UK, but we can’t get there. We are even more worried about the 1st of January when Brexit is a fact and we need to apply for permits etc. That could be a real crisis.

What did you find an unexpected blessing?

Under normal circumstances, we are often in a sort of lockdown. We are always in our workshop working long days on our projects. The whole Covid crisis seemed to happen outside our workshop world. For us, the only real change has been not being able to travel abroad.

What did you work on?

We had a couple of nice commissions we worked on throughout the period, including a d’Hondecoeter cabinet, an extremely large Birdcage and a Snake Ornament. Our personal lockdown project is a five-meter crocodile in bondage hanging on the ceiling. Sounds as cool as it is.

Was the work you did planned – or did you allow your creativity to roam free?

The work we do is a sort of monks’ labour that enables our minds to drift off. This means we have so many ideas, but a fundamental lack of time in which to create them.

How do you feel now as life returns to ‘normal’?

Nothing ‘normal’ here: the second lockdown was announced last week. But what we have learnt so far is that we are natural-born lockdowners.

Read more about Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren

In the studio with Darwin, Sinke & van Tongeren