Robert Schuurmans Stekhoven
Ever since his time at the art and design academy (St-Joost Breda) Robert Schuurmans Stekhoven has been concerned with power and control. At the academy he studied publicity and multimedia design. One time (1984) he went to East Germany with the group. The repression that he encountered there, in combination with many books, serves as his source of inspiration. His drawings are broad interpretations of this thematic; some describe the interpersonal relationship between two people and others the relations between two states. His goal is to visualize the power structures and forces at play.
“Strangely enough I discovered that power can hardly be found in prehistoric times; up until the Neolithic, when the first cities (Uruk) appeared in Mesopotamia. The exercise of power on others is almost certainly a cultural phenomenon, as is property.”
“There also is a personal element to my fascination with power, but I won't go into that too much. All I can say is that I see that some people have a lot of influence over others, intimidate them. In reverse, a group can intimidate a loner and see that he adapts.”
“I am now trying to put all these matters on paper in a kind of abstract play of forces. From the response and personal messages I receive, I notice that it sometimes deeply affects people because they themselves have had parents with narcissistic or psychopathic traits (these are often leaders or people who want power). You can also look at it from physics, but it does not really correspond with reality. I work with simple drawing tools. No computer or photos.
I get to work with a pencil, ballpoint pen, pen or colored pencil. I draw everything out of my head; as much as possible at least, because then I will get to the essence much faster.
"The drawing can be ambiguous because it doesn't have to communicate unambiguously like my design works. As far as I am concerned the viewer can fill in the story himself, as far as I am concerned. I often get the comment that my work is philosophical. I agree with that.”
Laan van Nieuw Blankenburg 11
3181 DA Rozenburg-Rotterdam
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