A key element in Schimmel’s work is the functioning of the eye, and in particular the perception of after-images and halo-effects. The eye, like the brain, works not just as a passive recipient of information but also as an active selection and projection tool.
In his paintings, murals / installations and computer animations, Roland Schimmel aims to create a visual short-circuit. Viewers will experience an inevitable reaction which results in “after-images”. For Schimmel, this variation and flux is key - he is interested in the uncontrollable in our perception and the associated ‘feelings of powerlessness’.
Schimmel discovered that the eye is very sensitive to the blinding impact of black. This resulted in the appearance of black circles in his work, which are often associated with black holes, black suns or a sun eclipse. The Innocent Eye connects with Lissitzky's Victory over the Sun, a key work in the collection of the Van Abbemuseum. The installation in Het Oog does not share the revolutionary hubris of that time, but "allows us to reconsider our place in the sun", as Lawrence Weiner once defined an artwork.
The mural activates the natural capacity of the eye to see what is not visible, that what remains hidden behind the visible. Schimmel’s work allows us to see the endless potential of unrealised possibilities.
Het Oog (The Eye) is an area in the Van Abbemuseum that offers a stage for artists to create new work during a working period of six months. Het Oog is a special ‘open-air’ location of the museum where artists conduct a site-specific project.