Three decades of work by theatre maker Peter Zegveld

Bonkbed, Peter Zegveld, 2012. Photo: Gert Jan Rooij.

Press release

Three decades of work by theatre maker Peter Zegveld
Until 12 January 2014

This autumn Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Serra Gallery plays host to the dynamic installations of inspiring theatre maker and visual artist Peter Zegveld. Ten works give an overview of three decades of this artist’s visual art and sound works. Zegveld’s works explore the boundaries between sound and image -images become sounds and vice versa- and create a world full of tension and surprise.

Zegveld’s working method is characterised by experiment, testing everyday materials to their limits. His multidisciplinary artistic practice straddles the worlds of visual art and sound, proposing new approaches to existing categories. The works in the exhibition ‘Peter Zegveld - Sculptures and Installations’ appeal to the senses. A good example is ‘Sconce’ (2012), a metal construction in which a heavy metal ball repeatedly knocks against a pole, slowly propelling the work through the space. The exhibition also includes early works such as ‘Commode’ (1987), a seat whose cushion is raised every twenty seconds by ultrasound vibrations.

Homo Universalis
Peter Zegveld was born in The Hague in 1951. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and then began a career in theatre. For more than twenty years he has pursued a unique approach to theatre, producing performances that are visual, sensual and filmic. In both his theatrical works and installations Zegveld makes use of the laws of physics: the workings of light, air, sound and gravity. With his unconventional stance he criss-crosses disciplines, allowing the viewer to experience and explore absurdities. In addition to his own productions for theatres, festivals and his fine art work, he directs productions for the Orkater theatre company and television series for VPRO. Zegveld is artistic director of the Caspar Rapak Foundation.

Bewogen Beweging
At the age of ten Peter Zegveld visited the legendary exhibition ‘Bewogen Beweging’ (Moving Movement) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which included Swiss artist Jean Tinguely’s Métamatic machines that produced automatic drawings. This was a defining moment for Zegveld: his first exposure to kinetic art, which he intuitively understood without any explanation. This experience set in motion something that has become richer and more energetic throughout his career as a theatre maker, performer and percussionist.

Music performance and new ARTtube
On 20 October 2013 and on 12 January 2014 the museum will host Zegveld’s musical performance ‘Scherzo Mechanica’, which he presented at the Oerol theatre festival in 2012. Two machinists operate the vast assemblage of self-made instruments that produce mechanical music. The musical compositions are streaked with poetic moments: an aeroplane flies out of an oil drum, smoke rises like Native American Indian signals, and a Viennese waltz is played on an electric sander. There will also be a film about Peter Zegveld on ARTtube:

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a book examining Zegveld’s broad oeuvre. The bilingual (Dutch/English) volume, designed by Irma Boom, features essays by art historian Marina de Vries; philosopher Dirk van Weelden; dramaturg Marijn van de Jagt; art historian Alex de Vries; and poet and essayist Atte Jongsma. Available from the museum shop.