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.
In 1962 Henk Peeters stretched a piece of white silk over a framework. He hung one white down ostrich feather from the middle of the top edge. The ostrich feather is attached at the back and moves softly when you walk by the canvas. There is a moiré effect in the silk. The feather casts a shadow onto the canvas.
Peeters made this work when he was a member of Nul. Previously, as a member of the Informal Group, he said: “We try to see and show our own age.” In the Informal Group, emotions, spontaneity and a personal signature played an important role. Nul stepped back from this. For Nul, the artist’s own age was also a starting point, but it had to be represented in an objective way. Peeters worked with modern materials such as nylon, formica and chrome, which were unusual in the arts at that time. He also used materials which were soft and invited the viewer to touch them, such as cotton wool, synthetic furs and feathers. Nul wanted to open the public’s eyes to the beauty of the everyday environment and to the achievements of western welfare society. The work of the Nul artists consisted of fragments of isolated reality.
Peeters said: “I always wanted my work to look fresh, as though it was on display in the Hema supermarket. It shouldn’t look artificial….” Art should not be the privilege of a small elite, but something in which everyone could recognize their own world. Nul was similar to Zero in Germany. They both wanted to make a new start in the arts and both used their own age as a starting point, preferably using contemporary materials. However, Zero had a more spiritual orientation than Nul. The Nul artist was an observer, not a seer. For Zero, immaterial phenomena such as light and movement had central place. Of all the Nul members, Peeters was the one who was closest to Zero. 62-22 subtly shows his interest in the effects of light and shade and in movement. These phenomena, combined with the softness of the feather and the glossy satin, made 62-22 a poetic piece of reality.
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