Engels Pieter - Situationplate (hang this plate near a door)
1968 - Wood, formica - 45 x 30 cm
Pieter Engels (Rosmalen, 1938) questions and shows with his work the mechanisms of the visual arts. His works are subversive in nature, and often witty and ironic in tone. In 1964 Engels established the English Product Organization (EPO). A company with a director - Pieter Engels - and a sales manager - English alter ego Simon Es. English uses all kinds of resources that belong to a company: a showroom, catalogs, advertising brochures and associated language. EPO sells, among other things, repaired furniture, letter pieces and wonder events. The first category also includes the 'repaired chairs': sawed-through chairs that are then assembled in a new way with hinges. Letter pieces are wall objects with folding panels on which plastic plates are attached with short texts such as "hello" and "come on." The wonder events are services for which you pay English: for example cutting a banknote, having a short conversation or damaging your car ("ENGLISH DAMAGES YOUR CAR BEAUTIFULLY, price: from fl. 100, -"). The wonder events ask us as a spectator to what extent we are willing to participate. If we pay English to damage our car, we are partly responsible for stretching the boundaries of what art is and can be. Text and language play an important role in the oeuvre of English. The situation plates are an example of this. Black plates with white letters to read: "hang this plate near a plug" or "hang this plate near a door". Another example is the work The absence of a painting framed by the absence of this painting (2009). An empty picture frame frames another empty picture frame. On the inner frame is a text plate affixed with "the absence of a painting", on the outer frame is "the absence of a painting framed by the absence of this painting". Modern Art (Seascape) Piece (The Clothes of the Emperor) (1967) also frames the void. It is a frame without a canvas in the middle. The addition of "The Clothes of the Emperor" is striking. A double bottom. The Emperor's clothes, which is something that everyone believes in, but which does not really exist. Engels undermines and confirms the right to exist of art by subjecting it to an investigation. "The beauty of the lie is that she knows the truth," said Engels. It is a sentence that is very clear in itself, but that you still have to think about. He seems paradoxical. This is characteristic of the English working method. By shedding new light on what we consider normal, he tilts our perception. His works are, as it were, interventions that challenge us to think about what makes art art. Pieter Engels studied at the Royal School of Visual Arts in Den Bosch (1955-1958) and at the Rijksakademie of Visual Arts in Amsterdam (1958-1962). Works by Engels have been shown in Museum Jan Cunen (Oss), the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Martin van Zomeren (Amsterdam).