Art@Site Karel Appel Looking Through the Open Window Utrecht

Karel Appel


Looking Through the Open Window

Croeselaan, Rabobank
Karel Appel (April 25, 1921 – May 3, 2006) was a Dutch painter and sculptor. He was one of the early founders of the European avantgarde movement COBRA in 1948. Later Appel lived and worked in Paris and in the U.S. His painting art is mainly colorful and gestural.
K. Appel (1989): 'The wastelands belong to my youth [c. 1930's]. When I was young I played in the outskirts of the city - watching the cranes at the harbour. There was no law but garbage, grass and wildflowers like boys and girls, rough, hot and sexual and full of hidden pleasures. Life and death are overlapping in the wastelands like in my paintings.' K. Appel (1989): 'You can see the roughness of structure and the spots like wounds from battles on the canvas. The tops of skyscrapers with windows like eyes constantly remind you that there are laws surrounding the wastelands, and so you hide in the deep grass when you make love to a girl in dirty clothes, and experience how your nerves of seeing become stronger and stronger and every little sound more and more intense. That's what Pasolini's poetry is partly about; he was a street guy and therefore I avoided beautiful new wood or metal for his sculpture.. .The wasteland was Pasolini's other side; the boys, the knives, the nights, the tensions.'
K. Appel (1989): 'One of my first sculptures was made of bicycle parts. I was living at that time in a attic in the red light section of Amsterdam. I started to work without any specific materials. I was looking in the street like when I was a young boy, in the garbage cans, for ropes, wires, and paint. I left my parents in 1940. Years later I saw an exhibition of Kurt Schwitters at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam curated by Willem Sandberg and there I saw the real 'objet trouvé'; until then I had never heard about it. Schwitters was a shattering experience.'