An interview with Hans Kooi

Why of all possibilities did you choose kinetic sculpting?

I think that without a doubt the reason lies in nature. I was born and raised in a neighborhood surrounded by rivers – the “Krimpenerwaard”. Water is movement by nature, rivers full of action and mobility. However, what really fascinated my as a child were the tides. The infinity and movement in nature are indeed the elements that have been captured in my sculptures.

How did your interest in this visual language develop?

In 1966 I started at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Science in Rotterdam, publicity department. Three years after that I made the transfer to plastical design, a study which I completed in 1974. After three years of publicity design, I felt the need to freely express myself in visual arts.

During my study I discovered that the movement in visual arts presented a challenge that I wanted to further develop. I got inspired by the sculptures of people such as Rickey and Calder. I wanted to explore and visualize the boundaries between nature and technical science. Create sculptures that combined these boundaries with the energy of this time. I didn’t have the slightest ambition to create sculptures that are also an answer to invisible powers.

The influence of sports and visual arts?

What was very unusual, especially in those days, was the fact that I was a fanatical sportsman – athletics in particular. Running seems one-dimensional, but it has many dimensions, and so does beauty. Running is like dancing, freeing oneself from the earth; a concept that still fascinates me.

Despite the fact that you capture time when running, you leave time behind as well. This physical and emotional experience is something I wanted to express in art. Making the past visible by creating space, with a visual language that caries with it movement and unpredictable secrets.

What role does technical science play in your art?

At the start, it was a fascination with technical science itself (the electric motor and magnetism). Later sculptures have a more constructive character where balance and disorientation play a great part. Simplicity, followed by a seeking imagination, has to bring nature to culture.

Answers to concepts like today, tomorrow and the future are central. Looking to the future instead of the past. Leaving the every day certainness behind you with a wink. Seeking the space that everyone needs so badly, without any borders of the past. Sculptures, one with the space, on their way to ‘yester-morrow’. With great gratitude by the way to those who have gone before me and shown me the way, the kinetic pencil strokes of Van Gogh in particular.

Hans Kooi