I am a unique type, with scales where the sun goes down, the sun that never reaches my inside. My skin is reinforced concrete, thicker than a human’s height. I am unblemished, indestructible for as long as time allows me to be. However, I am modestly hidden under ivy, in the shade of an old pine, at the Western edge of the Wilhelminapark.
My shyness comes from shame, I bear a taint. I was built by an enemy of this city. I was a base for violent commandos, protection against Allied bomb raids. The fact that no daylight reaches me perfectly symbolises the circumstances in which I arose.
But time took this beautiful city by her inevitable hand, away from the darkness. I became a depot, an exorbitantly strong shed for cables, equipment and old vehicles. Most people forgot about me. I lay in the dark, handed over to nature. An atonement which lasted for decades, and one that I willingly made. Until, seventy years after my resurrection, four artists, sons of the city, knocked on my steel door. They found my isolation to be cowardice. They talked to me. Real atonement is doing something in return for the city, they said. You have served the darkness, but could now be a refuge for its beauty. Me, for beauty? The idea! Now, the idea was as follows: filling me with new, remarkable art every month. Installations, photos, poetry, sculptures, paintings, films and performances. Works that have the X-Factor. A finger on the pulse of contemporary art. Non-profit, simply because everything good deserves attention.
Slowly, my conviction established itself in the cracks of my metres-thick skin: this is my new fate. On one condition: do not call me a bunker anymore. No more will I hide what cannot bear the light of day. Instead, I will show what has to be seen. I am no hiding place anymore, but a place of refuge. I carry the shadows of the past, but am no longer bound by it.
I am the EXbunker