Hendrik van Leeuwen – december 2017, Den Haag
Loops and Circles
The sculptures Eddy Stikkelorum materializes in wood and epoxy have a dream-like quality. Fluidly the wood unfolds in space, as unpredictably as a ballerina without a set choreography. Of course this frivolity is but a smokescreen, since a comparison between sculptures indicates that he prefers to work in series and develops his ideas step by step. Yet it is no mean task to determine the indefinite shape of his objects and that’s exactly what this escape artist wants to achieve: to reach beyond the dictate of deeper meaning. He has always claimed that he wants to be free in every respect, and that he also wants the viewer to feel absolutely free.
However – since he has started to title his work, we cannot escape a certain guidance and interpretation. For decades it has been a dogma that abstract art should be presented to the world ‘without a title’, which was defensible as long as the work represented a formalistic game with technical data such as line and plane, straight and curved. Eduard Willem Stikkelorum (1955) welcomed this ‘indefinability’ as a certification of autonomy, since it marked a liberation from the contract situation in which he had been schooled at the Royal Academy in The Hague. But pure abstraction is ’has been’ thinking, as there is always a link with reality.
Stikkelorum’s encounter with New York in 2005 was a decisive experience. He fell head over heels for the energetic enthusiasm of the city. ‘’In New York people will not settle for petty, formal games’’, he explains, ‘’ they are busy making sure to reach their personal potential within the structure in which they function.’’ He praises their solidarity: ‘’Race and ethnicity are not an issue, you are a New Yorker. This feeling became even stronger after 9/11’’. Stikkelorum is now a regular visitor to New York and says: ‘’ Even now, when I wake from a dream during the night, it is New York I have been visiting.’’
Level-headed as he is, he observes that The Hague will remain his home, but his inner longing for New York resulted in three consecutive series with the basic title: ‘Dream of New York’ (2012-2014). A new dimension in this work is his fascination for the ‘loop’: a wooden line which searches – intuitively it appears – its way back to its point of departure. Its circular movement sometimes appears slow, then abruptly fast, but in its entirety it is graceful in character.