The ZERO movement, which by the mid-1960s had expanded beyond its original origins in Düsseldorf into a pan-European collective, was always spiritually rooted in the Constructivism of post-revolutionary Russia. The Constructivists, inspired by the optimism of the new industrial order in Russia, sought to create a new era of proletarian art based on the emerging culture of materials. The ZERO artists that emerged in the aftermath of a different war also sought a stronger interlocking of art with technology, purposefully choosing unusual and non-traditional materials to facilitate this.
Their ambition to establish a working method that embraced a synthesis of art and life resonated strongly in Schoonhoven’s works. They were the first to encourage the use of industrial materials and a philosophy that demanded that art should no longer seek to reflect or interpret a given reality but aim to build and express the tasks of the working man. With no subject-orientated obstacle standing between the viewer and the work, R69-39 S/T/D, achieves a new kind of immediacy; it is a truly democratic work of art. In the multifaceted surface of the present work the light becomes a moving, living element that transforms the role of the viewer into that of an active force intimately involved in the mesmerising dynamism of the work.
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