About the artwork
About the Artist
Wadding, foam rubber, powdered down: Henk Peeters's (The Hague, 1925- Hall, 2013) work consists of everyday materials that he prefers to buy at a local store. He takes ordinary everyday objects out of their context, thereby raising the question of what is authentic.
It fits in with the Zero movement, which Peeters founded in 1960 together with Jan Henderikse, Armando and Jan Schoonhoven and which lasted until 1965. Earlier, in 1958, Peeters founded the Hollandse Informele Groep, in which formal principles relating to beauty were no longer an issue.
A characteristic feature of Nul is that there is no such thing as an authentic work of art: seriality and circulation are not shunned. Repetition and the use of monochrome colours are also central. The artist's handwriting is replaced by his idea. With his already existing, artificial products such as powdered down and cotton wool, Peeters links up with the tradition of Marcel Duchamp's Ready Mades. The questions that Zero wants to ask go back to the essence of things: What is a canvas? What is a painting? What is paint?
"With Zero, we wanted to start again. From nothing. It was literally a zero point, the beginning of the new art history.... We put aside those old paintings in those beautiful frames. They were finished for us."
The aim is to elevate the everyday into art. For example, for Aquarel (1964) Peeters filled countless plastic bags with water. Besides water, fire is also an important element. Like a number of artists in the international ZERO group, to which Nul is related, Peeters makes pirographs: images that are created when the paper or canvas is touched by a flame or its smoke.
Peeters was trained at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (1940-1945). His work has been exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Palazzo Fortuny (Venice) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), among other places.