The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This painting by Peter Struycken is composed of 24 square elements, set in rows of four next to each other and six below each other. The elements are divided in two horizontally or vertically and consist of one black and one coloured half. Some colours occur once, some several times. The elements are separated from each other by thin black lines so that the coloured halves remain individually recognizable when elements of the same colour are side by side. The black halves merge together and form larger fields.
'Cluster 12' is part of a series of sixteen paintings made with the help of the Cluster computer program. This program contains 24 elements, each consisting of one black and one coloured half. The coloured halves are different in every element. The elements are arranged in a set order in an open square. The series of paintings was created by transferring the elements from the Cluster programs to a rectangular painting in accordance with particular rules which are used differently in each painting. In this respect, Struycken said: “However, the figure (the set order of elements in the program) and the area (the size of the painting which is four by six) have different shapes, so that the figure does not fit automatically. It is only when the figure is placed in the area in separate bits and pieces that this is possible.”
Struycken continued: “This is tried in sixteen ways. It often doesn’t work. Both successful and failed attempts count. Every attempt produces a result with its own structure. It is a game with no staples.” All the sixteen paintings started with the same element in the same place. Depending on the rules that were followed, each of the 24 starting elements could occur once, several times or not at all. In the work exhibited here it was not possible to transport all the elements from the program to the painting. With regard to his working method, Struycken said: “In my work I look for processes and systems which produce the greatest possible number of different results.” He works with systems because they “protect him against inconsistency and therefore ambiguity.” His work is an “attempt to objectify reality…because of a need for clarity and comprehensibility.”
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