OVERVIEW / PETER SPAANS




2018. Introduction website by Anneke Oele (To the Dutch version)


Thoughts on a new website: 'This website is undergoing a massive transformatiom'.

    It's been a while since you would be able to find peterspaans.nl on Google. As of now, the launch is finally a fact. I have been walking around the website for a month, enjoyed myself for hours. I have the feeling that I still have not seen it all, so be warned.

For example: You can browse through all the books Peter has ever made. Type in what you are looking for and it can be found from the beginning of 1974 until now. And that's the fun, after browsing through one book after the other, going through time, you realize that everything is connected, the circle is complete so to speak.

A project that Peter recently completed titled ‘The city as Catherdral’, whereby the St. Jan van den Bosch is involved, has for example, its origins in 1976, when Peter attended the art academy in Den Bosch and the city council wanted to convert the St. Jan into a parking garage. The drawing ‘Parking', can be found on the website under Work From 1976.

Perusing quickly through the books from the 1980’s about Berlin and New York (such as ‘Works of a city’), you realize that the visual language conjured up by Peter, pops up again in the reliefs that he has been making since 2015. (For example ‘Secretary lunch break') from 2016.
That is one of the few beautiful things of ageing: you can in the best-case scenario evaluate whether your life, in various aspects, is coherent. And yes, now that it's all so beautifully brought together, we can congratulate Peter on a coherent life and artistry, because in his case it becomes very clear that these two are not separate from one another.

In this film you will see a modest overview of his work through the ages. (not chronologically by the way).

Another example: In the context of this consideration, Peter sent me a document in which he described his life in one continuous text. Particularly the beginning of his life, which took place in Groningen, I do not want to keep from you.
'Peter often played outside in the still undeveloped areas, where many flats and new roads were being built. Such as the big road heading south, towards Assen, on a high slope, prepared for the future. Peter dreamed of cars, built a lot in the sand with the omnipresent building materials, dug holes, stacked wooden planks together to make a flat (always with a hole in the middle, so that you could crawl to a higher floor), built endless huts in the living room and in his (shared, with his brother) attic of rugs and sheets and blankets fastened to chairs and tables with clothespins.
Peter was commissioned by the school to investigate the neighborhood to measure everything and record the size of the street and the neighborhood. Peter became curious and wanted to know what could be behind it all. He built models out of papier maché, drew a lot, thought about how a radio or TV worked, or fantasized about building his own car out of wood. ' You can see it before you. Here the artist is already rising up in him and it is only 1962.

A large part of his oeuvre consists of capturing urban environments, in which he, as an outsider, considers cities such as Berlin and New York, such as ‘Canalstreet’ from 2013 and Amsterdam. From 2007, photobooks have been added of road-trips through (The United States) America, which he undertook with his friend Dan Schmidt, entitled ‘On The Road Too' Part I and part II.

In both cases no people are to be seen in the photos. Peter photographs the cities and the country as they appear to him, with no sentiment of human intervention or romantic light.

I would like to point out a somewhat more personal part of his oeuvre, namely the biographical archive project ‘World Works' (2011 - 2013) in which Peter combines his life and work from the 1950s to the present.
Part of this project is the library from 2013. This library consists of twelve parts. For example, there is a booklet about his sister, who died in 1974, entitled: ‘Ellen Marina José’. The works have a different and more personal character than the other works and as a result they provide a more complete picture of Peter Spaans.

In a conversation with Hans Eijkelboom’ at the presentation of the series in 2013 at the Johan Deumens gallery, Peter said the following:
'In this work, where I start the series with all sorts of news photos and articles from newspapers, I slowly trickle myself into it. First in the form of a picture of myself as a child, pictures with family, and then there comes the first drawing, or a note, so my presence in this world is getting bigger and bigger. '

In this way Peter Spaans also shows something about his personal life as being a part of his art production. He does so very modestly and in a form that coincides with the works in which he portrays cities and landscapes.

In conclusion, a quote from Peter from the above-mentioned conversation with Hans Eijkelboom about the ideal website:
' I want a website that feels like a city. Yu really want to go there and you let yourself get off guard, you get lost, stop somewhere, visit the sights, read a newspaper, stay overnight, then get lost again. You leave the town and come back again for the next visit et, etc, etc. That is not standard for a website. A site must be extremely accessible, approachable and look like other sites. I simply do not want that. Lose you way, get irritated and not finding your way back and if you don’t come back, then don’t, this city is not suitable for you.


Anneke oele.
Kunstadvies Artoele