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.
'Reliëf' by Carel Visser consists of two aluminium plates which are connected together at the bottom with a strip of pieces of aluminium placed on top of each other. At the top right of the plate on the right there is a similar stack of aluminium strips and strips have been attached to the back to hang it up. As a result the relief stands a little away from the wall. The aluminium has been rolled and large horizontal bands can be seen where it was rolled. A close look shows that the two plates are not exactly the same size and the strips placed one on top of the other are also of slightly different sizes.
This work by Visser reveals clear similarities to minimal art because of its geometric forms and their clear arrangement. However, although minimal art incorporates industrially manufactured elements of exactly the same sizes, Visser’s work reveals all sorts of “imperfections”. He was not interested in the purity and precision of geometry. His geometric forms are usually the result of an abstraction of natural forms. He allowed irregularities such as slightly different sizes, or a corner that is not quite a right-angled corner. This gives his work a “more human character” than true Minimal Art. Visser saw the prevailing views in a relative light. He did not have just one credo; he did not believe in absolute truth. His work developed in response to his sense of wonder about everything he encountered.
Visser’s works always link together different elements. He said: “One thing cannot exist on its own… If a thing does not have its counterpart, or its basic support, it is not for me.” This thought can also be seen in 'Reliëf'. There are two plates which support each other and two strips which serve as counterparts. One strip connects the plates and is attached at the bottom. The other one is at the top attached to only one plate. The plates do not have a perfect geometric shape and the aluminium reveals traces of the manufacturing process. In addition to these imperfections, 'Reliëf' reveals another difference with Minimal Art. A minimal work of art has a clear relationship with its environment: it hangs on the wall, takes up a corner, stands on the floor. In contrast, 'Reliëf' stands away from the wall and is more contained as a work in itself.
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