OCTOBER 30 – DECEMBER 19, 2014
RECEPTION: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 6 – 8 PM
Tilton Gallery is pleased to present Henk Peeter’s first exhibition with the gallery, on view October 30th – December 19th, 2014. A reception will be held Thursday, October 30th, from 6 to 8 pm.
Henk Peeters (1925 – 2013), a Dutch artist who exhibited worldwide with the Zero group, was an active participant and founder (with Armando and Jan Schoonhoven) of the Dutch Nul (Zero) group within The Netherlands and is known for organizing the historic exhibitions Nul 1962 and Nul 1965 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, among others. He created a body of work in keeping with the beliefs of this loosely affiliated group of international artists, but is also remembered as a key organizer of Zero exhibitions, drawing connections between artists, reconstructing lost works and keeping their efforts alive. He was also a writer on the theory of art and a teacher till the end of his life, influencing and inspiring generations of younger artists, among them the Dutch artist Berend Strik, with his use of stitching, importantly executed by people instructed by the artist, but untouched by his own hand. Strik will exhibit new work at the same time at Tilton Gallery.
Peeters’ work is included in the concurrent exhibition, Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow 1950s- 60s at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, whose introduction to the show succinctly summarizes Zero group as, “...an international network of like-minded artists from Europe, Japan and North and South America... who shared their aspirations to redefine art in the aftermath of World War II.” Founded in Dusseldorf in 1957 by Otto Piene and Heinz Mack and joined by Gunther Uecker in 1961, “They chose the name, as Piene explained in 1964, to indicate ‘a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning....’ ” Zero group did not have a manifesto, nor did they have members; it was not a movement; rather it was an attitude, a vision, and a new approach to natural processes and everyday materials and the exploration of light and space, as well as a rejection of the emotional abstract painting of Tachisme and Art Informel. The many (more than 140 globally) artists associated with Zero group, beside the three mentioned above, also include Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, and Piero Manzoni. In 1961, Peeters became a work of art himself when Piero Manzoni appointed him as one, signed and certified by the artist. He exchanged artworks with Klein and Fontana and built several “Metamatic” machines for Jean Tingueley.
Peeters’ own work incorporated water, fire and smoke, feathers, stitching and artificial plastics, as represented in the works currently on exhibition at the gallery. For this show, organized with the help of Tijs Visser, founding director of the Zero foundation and initiator of the Guggenheim Zero show, works are brought together that span his concerns. These include an early work of water bags mounted on canvas from 1961, a canvas with a feather boa attached (relating to a motorized feather piece at the Guggenheim) from the 1970s and his first two fire paintings from 1959, as well as one work from 1962 with thread stitched onto the support. These are key examples of his original early works that survived destruction at the end of a solo show in 1966 at Galerie Orez in The Hague, called La derniere exposition (The Last Exhibition) when he proclaimed that “The age of the unique work of art is over....” He felt he could make his own duplicates, and went on to reconstruct many of the destroyed works, dating a stamp on the verso of these with both the date of the ‘original’ and the date of the reconstruction, and accompanying them with a statement saying “This work is an ‘original’ copy made by Henk Peeters after one of his early works.” Two of these “ ‘original’ copies” from 2011 are also on exhibit.
Born in The Hague, The Netherlands, in 1925, Henk Peters lived in Arnhem till his death in 2013. He taught at the Rietveld Art Academy in Arnhem from 1957 till 1972. He exhibited internationally in shows in Germany, Italy, Belgium, England and the United States and his work was exhibited at Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf. He was given a retrospective in 2012 by the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague and his work is included in numerous museum collections, such as those of the Tate Modern, London and the Neuerburger Museum. This is his first solo exhibition in New York.
The Tilton Gallery is located at 8 East 76th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 – 6 and Monday by appointment. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.jacktiltongallery.com or call 212-737-2221