The early work of Machiel Braaksma consisted for a large part of small abstract figures the size of an average house plant cactus, and partially gave a similar expression. You could call these textile and plastic clay figures characters, which exhibit a shameless inner beauty.
In order to elevate the feeling of a character – that could take action or respond to an existing situation – such an image could be given an attribute.
For example, under the title ‘from the series Enterprising Figures’, match boxes appeared with the portrait of three figures on them and on the reverse side the numbers one, two or three.
The boxes were an extension of the figures and served in a way as ambassadors by being promptly present at suitable occasions like the opening of an exhibition or during the interval of a performance.
These figures and the surrounding phenomena, like two animation films, a medal, a figure as parachuter and a memoir book etc. where the reason for the invitation for a solo exhibition in the Fries Museum.
Since the small figures had been exhibited before and the exhibition space was large it was decided that a new piece should be made, specifically for this occasion and location.
This is how the Cacadoe sculpture came into existence: a large piece that could represent the collection of small figures.
This sculpture, consisting of a number of large letters on a trailer with ten wheels, was in a way authorized to represent the earlier made figures.
The title of the sculpture was ‘Unknown word that wants to be a notion’ and stood in full figure 4,30 metres into the room.
The word Cacadoe embodies the posture and behaviour of the earlier made figures.
Collectively they had elevated the word Cacadoe as signature, hallmark, greeting and as a curse when necessary, and they could now be present in a big way through this sculpture.
Medal for the most challenging sculpture
1993 Bronze, sprayed fire red
In a smaller hall, christened the ‘Salon of the memory’, all the by products generated by the figures were shown on a communal pedestal.
In the following group exhibition in the Fries Museum it was asked if the Cacadoe sculpture could be exhibited in combination with a new work.
In reverse order a predecessor was now made of the original sculpture.
This sculpture was titled ‘Proto Cacadoe sculpture, backdated’.
With the help of the original sculpture a sort of prime model was constructed.
In the meantime the original Cacadoe sculpture has grown into a sort of icon within the Braaksma portfolio.
The sculpture first provided a new impulse for the earlier made works and now it feeds new related figures by being a mother figure and giving them meaning and ability.
There followed a series of vehicles where Braaksma progressed from the point of view that when an sculpture is a vehicle it almost automatically receives a mission.
By giving a sculpture the characteristics of a vehicle it can become an offensive and ready for battle sculpture and wield its own demonstrative logic.
A sculpture that perhaps went the furthest this way was a supposed submarine, in which the details of the vehicle formed almost in code the word Cacadoe and at the same time highlighting the clinical and strict regime of a submarine.
Everything was organised and the letters acted as technological senses.
Machiel Braaksma’s vehicles act as unknown prototypes and pioneers.
Unknown word that wants to be a notion
1996 Wood, 430cm x 153cm x 121cm