150 x 150 cm
Lacquer on acrylic glass
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Celia Ascher
Struktur Nr.1 [Structure No. 1]
One of the largest centers in the world for architecture, design, and digital culture, Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, is illuminated every evening in bright colors. The computer-controlled light installation transforms the 170-meter-long colonnade of the institute into a stage of continuously changing shades of color. It was created in 1993 by Peter Struycken (born 1939 in The Hague, Netherlands), who is a pioneer of computer-programmed art in the Netherlands.
Struycken began integrating computers in his artistic practice as early as 1969. When he was invited to create a series of stamps with the portrait of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1980, he used a computer to digitize the portrait and convert it into a structure of dots that make the small image seem more abstract the closer we look at it. In this commissioned work, Struycken thus remained true to his focus on structures, light, and color – elements that have characterized his art since he stopped making figurative artworks in the early 1960s.
His journey from figuration to non-representational art can be traced step by step and took place primarily in the years 1957 to 1962, when he was a student at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague. His expressive landscape paintings, portraits, and nudes were followed by a series of landscapes and animal paintings in 1961–1962 in which the motifs were structured as large geometric fields of color. Struycken then decided to devote himself completely to non-representational art in 1962. From that time forward, his titles also no longer referred to real-life objects, but rather to qualities within the pictures themselves – for example, the relationship between form and color, or the dynamic effect of his black and white structures, which bear a close resemblance to Op Art. He also began to work on structural reliefs and stereometric sculptures in the mid-1960s.
In 1966 he began a series called “Structuur” in which pixel-like pictorial elements undergo a systematic change in form. These works became the springboard for his first computer-assisted artworks. His work “Struktur Nr. 1,” which is in the collection of Museum Haus Konstruktiv, is also based on calculations done on a computer and is part of a series in which the structure changes from work to work.
Struycken taught art at Academy of Art & Design Arnhem from 1964 to 1976 and was also a co-founder and director of the environmental art degree program at that academy. He taught at many other art schools as well, meaning he has been an influential figure for many artists. His often seemingly weightless installations celebrating light, color, and structure continue to place his practice at the intersection of art, technology, and architecture.