The starting point of the project ‘The Geert Wilders works 2005-2008’ was a series of twenty-one installations, realized anonymously on four different days in April 2005. The installations consisted of a collage with photos of the ultranationalist politician Geert Wilders attached to trees, accompanied by a framed picture, a teddy bear, candles, and white roses.
The installations referenced the enormous memorial installations constructed after two murders on Dutch critics of Islam, namely the conservative-liberal politician Pim Fortuyn (2002) and the polemicist and filmmaker Theo van Gogh (2004). The racist politics of Wilders were developed in the wake of their death, and he has made public to live under permanent protection as a cause of this. This is how he is portrayed in the installations: as a living martyr.
During the period this work was realized, Wilders reported to the police twice that he felt threatened by the installations. After the works were made public, an immediate arrest and two days in jail followed before the Public Prosecutor decided to bring the case to court. The accusation was that the artist had “threatened a member of parliament with death.” This resulted in the following two works: The Geert Wilders Works – A Trial I (Cantonal Court Rotterdam, 2007) and The Geert Wilders Works – A Trial II (Court of The Hague, The Hague, 2008), in which the trials were announced as ‘public debates’ and the artist presented two manifests as his defense.
OPS file number 2005137109 of the Rotterdam police department, photographer unknown and court drawing by Jan Hensema