A special sculpture can be admired in the hall of the stairwell. In the artwork 'A letter from a free man', artist Matea Bakula investigates what happens when material is not conserved, but rather transforms over time. Bakula was inspired by the way in which Het Utrechts Archief selects and conserves material.

A letter from a free man

The six and a half meters high column that Matea Bakula made for the stairwell of the Utrecht Archives is not made of stone or marble, as you might expect at first glance, but of paper. Paper that is so abundant in Het Utrechts Archief to collect, preserve and preserve the collective memory of the city. Pieces from this treasure allow you to travel back in time. To the devastating storm of 1674 in which the nave of the Dom Church collapsed, to the 18th-century life of Belle van Zuylen or to the first cinema screening in 1896. You can clearly see these time lapses. It is as if this statue was lifted from the earth with a giant drill. With colorful stone layers in which the passage of time is visibly anchored.

The use of different types of paper and dyes creates a dynamic image with a wide variety of colors and shapes. This initially makes you think of materials other than paper and pigment.


Matea Bakula (1990) was born in Saravejo, Bosnia and now lives and works in Utrecht. She received her Bachelor degree at HKU Utrecht in 2013. Her work has been shown in multiple galleries such as Lumen Travo gallerie in Amsterdam, Workspace Brussels, Belgium, Art Rotterdam and Centraal Museum Utrecht. In 2020 she got nominated for the K.F. Hein Stipend and in 2019 for the NN Group art award at Art Rotterdam.

Matea Bakula makes sculptures in which material processing is central. She investigates the possibilities and limits of the materials that fascinate her. An essential part of her visual language is the use of geometric shapes. Bakula opts for these shapes as foundations that, with their strict frameworks, form a good platform for playful material research