This Living Archive exposes the history of the legendary artist initiative Het Apollohuis in Eindhoven using the extensive archive of Het Apollohuis and personal archive of Paul & Hélène Panhuysen.
It was founded by Paul & Hélène Panhuysen and Remko Scha in 1980, evolving from an alternative, experimental space into an major and independent platform for art and music in the city. The interaction between the different art forms was also of paramount importance. Since 1980, it presented some twenty exhibitions and installations a year and put on some forty concerts and performances Het Apollohuis published artists’ books, prints, multiples, tapes, gramophone records and CD’s.
The podium closed its doors ten years ago, but continued to work on collaborative projects with artists, performers and musicians until 2001, even without the use of the space in the former factory in the Tongelresestraat in Eindhoven.
The rich and animated history of Het Apollohuis is displayed in the Living Archive’s seven exhibition spaces using photos, posters, reviews, publications, audio tapes and videos.
The period in which Het Apollohuis was conceived, 1974-1980, is characterised by a true explosion of artists’ initiatives, both national and international. A large number of these initiatives were housed in old factory buildings, schools and office spaces. They were often called ‘sanctuaries’ for art, in which the artist also played the role of organiser. The policy of these sanctuaries was not based on such art historical motives as used by museums or on commercial considerations as in art dealing. Paul Panhuysen explained in the 1980-1982 Programme Report: “Our standpoint is one of artists, the makers of art. Remko Scha and I try to attract artists to Het Apollohuis solely and entirely because we find their work exciting. Our policy is determined by our own personal preferences and nothing else.” Throughout the history of Het Apollohuis, this notion was further honed and accentuated as a result of director Panhuysen’s discussions and his co-operation with artists invited to exhibit or perform there. This led to the ground-breaking position that the podium achieved within what is known as the alternative art circuit, as well as acceptance in ‘official’ art circles.
activities in the '60s and '70s
The way in which Het Apollohuis interacted with artists is comparable with how artist-organiser Paul Panhuysen continually attempted to build a bridge between art and society throughout his career. That is why the Living Archive also looks back on his activities in the 60s and 70s; activities that included his tenure as head of the education and information service in the Van Abbemuseum in 1966-1967. Using documents from the museum’s archives, attention is paid to such events as Homage to Lucio Fontana, the Museum Party, a children’s quiz and various summer programmes. Documents from Panhuysen’s personal archive show the ‘situasies’ that took place in the Municipal Theatre in Eindhoven, including The Giant Circus of the Holy Ghost, The Giant Meatball, events in the Stadswandelpark such as the Cultural Street Revolution (‘kulturele straatrevolusie)’, and the street parties in Eindhoven, from which plans for the living environment originated.