The Fish Pond Song (2006 - 2015)

Preview of Jeroen Kooijmans’ exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch.


As part of the celebration of Jheronimus Bosch 500 the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch presents a monumental video installation, The Fish Pond Song by Jeroen Kooijmans from 19 December 2015 through to 5 June 2016. The main source of inspiration for this cinematographic triptych was Bosch’ masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights.

In The Fish Pond Song an imaginary war is sung in three chapters: no clashing of arms, but in accordance with Bosch’s triptych, a layered narration full of deeply human fears and dreams. War is an imaginative abstraction here; evil is lurking, we see disturbed minds and yet hope dawns.

Faith had been a topic for some time in Kooijmans’ work when the attack on the Twin Towers occurred in 2001. At the time, Kooijmans lived in New York and while the deeply religious perpetrators were on their way to the promised paradise with 72 virgins, Kooijmans’ private hell broke loose. The launch of the ‘War on Terror’ had a profound impact on his personal life and underlies The Fish Pond Song.

Bosch’s world was also shaped by religious conflicts and clashes between cultures. The madness that religion can lead to is of all times. The title The Fish Pond Song is taken from the central section of The Garden of Earthly Delights, which features a fishpond with bathing maidens. The countless small stories depicted within the mysterious whole of this painting intrigued Jeroen Kooijmans. The premiere of this trilogy will be the ‘supporting act’ of the big exhibition in honour of Bosch. While listening to ‘The Song of the Fish Pond’ - a poetic text written by Tommy Wieringa- the visitor goes on a journey through the three chapters: The Lost Army, After the Battle and The Healing.


In het kader van Jheronimus Bosch 500 presenteert het Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch van 19 december 2015 tot 5 juni 2016 de monumentale video-installatie The Fish Pond Song van Jeroen Kooijmans. Een belangrijke inspiratiebron voor dit filmische drieluik was Bosch’ meesterwerk De Tuin der Lusten.

In The Fish Pond Song wordt in drie hoofdstukken een imaginaire oorlog bezongen. Geen wapengekletter maar - overeenkomstig het drieluik van Jeroen Bosch - een gelaagde vertelling vol diepmenselijke angsten en dromen. Oorlog is hier een fantasievolle abstractie; het is het kwaad dat sluimert, de waanzin in het hoofd, maar er gloort ook hoop.

Het geloofsthema speelde al enige tijd een rol in Kooijmans’ werk toen de aanslag o