Persona November, 30th 2023 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 443 - Peter van Loon

peter van loon – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 443 – Peter van Loon
Peter van Loon makes music machines. These are exceptionally original works that are in motion. And music is often created in that movement. It is also called kinetic – art that causes movement. In the courtyard of the Hague Art Circle (Haagse Kunstkring) I saw a beautiful example among other sculptures: a large bluebottle with extremely long legs – ‘t Schrijverke – with an antenna with four blades on its back to catch the wind.

peter van loon – 2-

It looked a bit like the spider of the French artist Louise Bourgeois. I made an appointment with the artist. He invited me to his home in the Sea Hero Quarter (Zeeheldenkwartier). Around me I see small and larger works of art on the wall, cupboards full of LPs, CDs and (art) books, a golden inflatable cat in front of the mirror and opposite it, also inflated in gold, the number 80.

peter van loon – 3-

Exhibition New Realists
Peter van Loon is indeed over 80, but that doesn’t make him any less active. He is still working on his art in a workshop a little further away in the Sea Hero Quarter and he is active in the Hague Art Circle, including in the balloting committee.
How did he get into music machines? “Then we go back to 1965. The Gemeentemuseum presented the sensational exhibition ‘New Realists’ (Nieuwe Realisten). There were various moving – kinetic – works of art on display. Including by Jean Tinguely, with lots of jokes and fun things in it. ‘That’s how I want to work’, I decided. It became my leitmotif.”

peter van loon – 4

Livinus van de Bundt
He was already at the Free Academy (Vrije Academie), which was then located in a large building on the Hoefkade, and after a while he became an assistant to Livinus van de Bundt, the legendary founder and director. “I still worked classically: I poured concrete, I worked in wood and then in stone. Livinus made light machines that attracted a lot of interest throughout Europe. I started organizing exhibitions for him in various countries, especially Germany.”

peter van loon – 5-

Start welding
Some time later – he now had a studio on Assendelftstraat – he saw a message from the artists’ union offering a cheap welding transformer. You could use it for arc welding (electric welding), with a hood on your head because of the sparks and ultraviolet light. “I bought that. I was lucky that a new building had been completed further down the street, with a container full of rebar, pre-formed concrete wires. I took that with me to my studio and I started practicing and trying to make things right away. I made things that could move.”
He taught it all to himself. “Reinforcing steel is a good material and relatively cheap, it is available in all kinds of thicknesses. There is rotation in it, which offers interesting possibilities. I have also worked with other metals: aluminum, brass and stainless steel. I made bearings from plastic, because regular ball bearings rust quickly.”

peter van loon – 6

Tall works
He had his studio in the Assendelftstraat for almost 40 years, six/seven years ago he found a new studio in the Van Galenstraat. “There is a court there, and I can go very high. Lately I have been making a lot of tall works.” These include the recent work ‘Meeting of the winds’ in the Heemtuin in Leiderdorp, the Albatross, powered by a windmill and which was on display in the Nijenhuis in Zwolle and ‘Breathless Earth’ (Amechtige Aarde), a globe with vertical lines of longitude containing plastic inflatable balls with a globe print. “A commentary on the ongoing depletion of the Earth.”
He starts with the sound and then sees if he can find a form for it. All kinds of choices are made and it takes him six months to solve all the technical problems. He builds until it moves and sounds. And it also has to look well. But once it is realized, he receives a lot of responses. “People think my stuff is fantastic. Children ask ‘Can I touch?’ ‘Go ahead,’ I say. Because the audience completes the work.”

peter van loon – 7Assignments

Especially in the last 20 years he has been busy with the music machines, before he also did many assignments where he received his income from the Visual Artists Scheme (BKR). “Mural paintings, climbing objects, ceramic work, wood work. Almost everything is gone. Buildings are demolished, neighborhoods are renovated. There was a wooden dragon of mine in the school on the Bezemplein. I saw the demolition workers chopping the work to pieces. I couldn’t keep watching.”
He has also taught for almost 40 years: Artistic Education and Amateur Art Practice. “Non-regular education. It gave me a lot of pleasure. I did it until I was seventy, then I had to stop. The students were very satisfied. Modeling, casting, working in natural stone, it was all possible there. Tineke Porck is one of my students.”

peter van loon – 8

Does he have a key work?
He has. It’s called ‘Meet a distant friend’. One of his first works with preformed rebar. “The hands move, small steel plates start to jingle.” He could move forward on this track. It was the start of a series of music machines. Lately he has regularly collaborated with the composer Kate Moore, who uses his music machines. She plays in the Herz Ensemble. There were performances in the Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, Korzo, in Vredenburg and recently on the occasion of October World Animal Day in the Mozes and Aaron Church.
He has all arranged the works in his studio in Van Galenstraat well, but it is full. His dilemma: will there be more works or will I do something else? He’s going to think about it well.
He recently went to the Archeon by car with his granddaughter. is written on his car. Afterwards he received compliments from a couple in a car behind him who had been browsing the site!

peter van loon – 9

1) Prep organ (homage John Cage), 2) Albatross, Nijenhuis, 3) albatross, 4) ‘t Schrijverke, 5) workplace, 6) Dada snow landscape, 7) On sonne 1, 8) Zingring, 9) portrait Peter van Loon

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