‘Persistent Illusion’ is a site-specific sculpture realised as part of an ambitious public art programme funded by the City of Utrecht in 2013. The resulting international exhibition ‘Call of the Mall’ featured new works by artists Christian Jankowski, Henrik Vibskov, Wilfredo Prieto, Antonio Vega Macotela, Sylvie Fleury, Robbie Cornelissen, Nathan Coley, Pilvi Takala, Fernando Sanchez Cadstillo, Gabriel Lester, Melle Smets, John Miller, Troika, Bik Van der Pol, Matthew Darbyshire, Krijn de Koning, Ligna and Lily van der Stokker among others.
Troika’s ‘Persistent Illusion’ was commissioned to sit in the centre of the iconic Brutalist shopping mall Hoog Catharijne. First opened in 1973, the mall's original grandeur has faded in recent years. Now, it manifests as a site where we can examine the physical, financial and sociological aspects of our changing society, simultaneously acting as a pressure cooker and a time capsule, where old ideals and new developments meet.
In this context, Troika’s ‘Persistent Illusion’ subverts the historical and significance of the fountain. Often used in city squares, parks and municipal gardens for the glorification of political leaders, merchants and historical achievements, the fountain is a claim to man’s mastering of nature, orchestrating a scene made purposefully for our enjoyment or politicisation. In this great line of heritage however, Troika’s fountain presents us with a distinct problem in the fact that strictly speaking, this is not a fountain. Upon closer inspection, the water in Troika’s fountain is rope, catapulted at a speed so deceptive to the eye that from a distance it could be mistaken for water.