Energy line (1988) Jan van Munster

BKOR archive
About the artwork

The 24 meter long Energy line Jan van Munster made for the roof of the Rotterdamse Schouwburg accentuates and enlivens - albeit mainly after sunset - the 'theater factory' that architect Wim Quist designed as a successor to the post-war theater. The austere building was born out of necessity. In 1982 - a time when government spending was heavily cut - Quist was commissioned to design a complex in which the theater had to be combined with social housing, offices, shops and a parking garage. This task, which was strongly determined by economic considerations, did not stand in the way of the creation of an original and usable theater, as appeared after the opening in 1988. The new theater was provided with art on the outside. The work of Jan van Munster - contrary to that of George Rickey - was already ready at the opening. In the hall he made red and blue light lines in the floor and along the pillars. This work of art finds its crown on the roof in the form of a balancing beam, in which the red and blue lines of light return. The unlit square stage tower serves as a base. The lightbar at 36 meter height seems to be in unstable equilibrium, but in reality it is solid. Jan van Munster commented on this: “Just as that beam on the edge of the abyss balances, so everyone who is involved in making theater in a good way always lounges on the dangerous border between falling and staying afloat.”With the colors red and blue, Van Munster refers to two sides of the theater: red for the warm plush and blue for the modern experiment. There has been a major renovation of the theater from 2006 to 2010. The Energy line the roof is still present unchanged. A number of changes have been made to the light lines in the hall in consultation with the artist.

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About the artist

Jan van Munster (Gorinchem, 1939) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam and continued his education at the Institute of Applied Arts Education in Amsterdam. Van Munster initially worked with wood, stone, bronze and glass. From the 70 years onwards, his attention shifted more and more to the application of light. His work also became increasingly minimalist. In 2002 the artist received the Wilhelminaring for his entire oeuvre.

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