Van Koningsbruggen, famous for his illustrious contrariness, was at the forefront of ‘fundamental painting’. His search for the essence in painting, which he explored through colour, culminated in his paintings of the early 1970s. Van Koningsbruggen rubbed works together, creating a spontaneous colour scheme. Through this process he achieved his ultimate ambition, to limit the input of the artist. For Van Koningsbruggen, the concept of a work outweighed the visual outcome, stating that ‘I actually don’t care how the idea turns out. I hardly look at it, to my paintings. I see it for a second, but then it does not interest me anymore’. (Rob van Koningsbruggen quoted in 1975: Hans den Hartog Jager, Rob van Koningsbruggen, Amsterdam 2002, p.11) Drawing on the practice of Yves Klein, he considered art as a pure, organic substance, undiluted by the problems of aesthetics.
The idea of sliding a wet painting over another arose in 1974 after years making drawings and knit works. ‘I took two canvasses, covered them in paint. At first black and white, later I added the primary colours. I put one canvas on the easel, grabbed the other and slide it over the one on the easel. That required more concentration than you think; before you knew it the canvasses would stick together’. (Rob van Koningsbruggen quoted in 2002: Hans den Hartog Jager, Rob van Koningsbruggen, Amsterdam 2002, p.11) The present work is a perfect example of this experimental approach to painting as the visible tracks of paint expose the artist’s process. Although the sliding is vertical rather than horizontal, the circular movement of 90 degrees was applied and is typical of his oeuvre. The present picture belongs to a series of works that are not only critically acclaimed but are also among the works which the artist perceives as the best of his oeuvre.