about the work

The beautiful moment

sculptures made by Peet Verrijn Stuart

The northern daylight flows into the studio of sculptor Peet Verrijn Stuart. The light is falling on open, high constructions that almost reach the ceiling. On the floor are other sculptures in dark, closed contours. They are made of industrial materials such as steel, brass and iron. The space within the sculptures is strongly present, almost as tangible as the outside form itself.

Verrijn Stuart (Heemstede, 1956) formulates her thoughts carefully.  As an artist of this time, she states herself eclectic and asks herself questions about the function and meaning of art. Her focus is on defining interior spaces. In her work the interaction between sculpture and space is a central key. At this space, light and movement play an important role. She characterizes her work as ‘ cinematic ‘. When designing she considers the – inner and outer – place where the sculptures will be placed. Both the architectural space where she exhibits and the dynamic space of mind give meaning. The actual moment in the history of the sculpture, she says, is determined by the location of the sculpture in relation to the space and the other sculptures.

In an exhibition space, the sculptures enter into a dialogue with each other.The contrasts between static and dynamic, open and closed, horizontal and vertical evoke tension. By the memory … is the title of a universal furniture form in rolled steel plate. A childhood memory to her parents ‘ house was stripped of any subjective load. As a platonic shadow the sculpture has taken its place in the physical space. Trunks are three fragile sculptures that seem to be in conversation. Space permeates and connects the thin structures. The copper-colored steel reflects the light optimally. The contours recall the primitive forms of trees in a forest. Her images are often quiet and introverted. Stay away from me is about distance, listening and silence. From a center point three ‘horns‘ enter the space. The contours run out in closed circle shapes that seem to scan the space. Do they listen to the sound and energy of silence?

Verrijn Stuart doesn’t restrict herself to three-dimensional sculptures. Her digital prints – with camera, scanner and computer – give a detachted image of light and place. They raise questions: why the choice for this moment? Photgraphs become a metaphor for the experience to be or to move through a space. In her sketches and drawings the pencil lines seem hardly to effect the white of the paper. Here obviously lies the association with her sculptures as spatial drawings.

Elementary forms, sober materials and clear structures derive their meaning to defenition in the space. In an exhibition, the autonomous sculptures do form new relationships, both with each other and with the space. At the visitor they are calling on a strong sensory experience. With well considered concepts Verrijn Stuart gives form and content to concrete images. It flows into a powerful, sometimes poetic game of matter in relationship with space, light and time. She is looking for the beauty of that moment.

Sonja Overbeeke
Haarlem 1998