The present work, R72-47, is amongst the most complex works Jan Schoonhoven engineered. Schoonhoven used to make his reliefs on the kitchen table, which is why they never exceeded a certain size. The present lot is the largest work to come to auction, stretching an impressive 166 x 126 cm.
In 1960 Schoonhoven began to make white reliefs of a geometrical structure and to work in series. He linked the large simple arrangements of horizontals and verticals with the subtle aesthetic based on sobriety and regularity to his vision of an anti-hierarchal society. Here he develops the basic grid structure of his earlier constructions to instigate a more dynamic and rhythmical interchange between the front and rear surfaces that encourages the eye to wander and explore its tactile surfaces.
The aspect of seriality, one of the most important aspects of the Zero group, is clearly evident in this relief. The proportions are classically balanced and the relationship between object and void creates a harmonious equilibrium, whilst maintaining a sense of movement.
In the true spirit of Zero, he wished to unveil and underline to humanity the easily overlooked beauties of modern life, and this important work stands a superb testament to the enduring relevance and influence of his work.
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Schoonhoven's birth. Schoonhoven's idea of aesthetic simplicity propagates the absence of the artist and negates any personal, emotional and figurative elements. The tense interplay between light and shadow, rest and movement, has lost none of its relevance over the decades.