R 43-4. 1973. Relief . Pigment and papier mâché on panel. Verso twice signed and dated as well as titled and with dimensions. 75 x 75 x 4.5 cm (29.5 x 29.5 x 1.7 in).
Schoonhoven's monochrome reliefs from the 1960s and early 1970s are the artist's most sought-after works on the international auction market. We are grateful to Anton Melissen, Amsterdam, for his kind support in cataloging this lot. The work will be included into Jan Schoonhoven's forthcoming work catalog.
PROVENANCE: Galerie Mueller-Roth, Stuttgart. Collection Ellen Sauter, Badenweiler (acquired from aforementioned presumably around 1978/79).
"If I were an artist entirely free from form I would go mad. The order, the austerity is reflected in my relief. In the end their most striking qualities are organization, regularity and repetition.“ Jan Schoonhoven
Schoonhoven is fascinated by the serial relief, which has a meditative moment both in the process of making as well as when observing it. This large-size work consists of 121 protruding squares arranged in 11 vertical columns and 11 horizontal rows constituting a square format as a whole. The radical reduction to the color white, which was not pure but slightly broken in his early works, allows the light to unfold its changeful play of light and shade on the strict structure. "The white reliefs are three-dimensional and therefore tactile objects. They are objects, insofar they are what they are, meaning they don't represent or imitate what they are not. [.] Schoonhoven's white reliefs are serial, grid-like systems with a number of identical and equal spatial recesses. The repetition of one and the same makes for the serial character.“ (Max Imdahl, quote after: Künstler. Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst, edition 9, p. 7). Observing Schoonhoven's minimalistic reliefs one fathoms what the art historian Max Imdahl means with the "sehende Sehen" (seeing view): Seeing is an aesthetic fundamental experience, unfettered by the recognition of an object. Accordingly, Schoonhoven's reliefs invite the observer to explore them and to rejoice in their changeful appearance over and over again. [JS]