CAREL VISSER COUNTERBALANCE - Sculptures, collages and works on paper
On Sunday morning, March 1st, Harm Visser calls with the sad news that his father has died in the night. Harm asks us to announce the news. The telephone never stops all that day. Journalists from every news media asking for information and background. It is a major news event. Demonstrating the significance of the position of one of the Netherlands' most prominent post-war sculptors.
Just ten days previously we had been celebrating the official opening of Visser's exhibition “Counterbalance” in London at our associate gallery The Mayor Gallery. An extremely well-attended private viewing with many prominent figures from the British art world. Among them Sir Nicolas Serota, director of the Tate, who in 1978 put together Visser's retrospective in the Whitechapel Art Gallery and remained friends with the artist and his family ever since.
Now that the life – and thereby also the oeuvre – of Carel Visser has reached its conclusion, admiration for the enormous creative passion of this artist remains. From the very start of his artistic career Carel Visser chooses a visual language that expressly deviates from the then prevailing – mostly figurative – sculpture of the early nineteen-fifties.
His use of form develops in geometric-abstract style with respect and admiration for Mondrian and Brancusi; his preferred material is iron, but during his entire life he continues to experiment with every material that nature and technology can place at his disposal.
We visited him in France just last summer. Sitting on his terrace I tell him of the plans for an exhibition in Amsterdam and in London. I am sitting facing him and he is watching me intently, with huge interest. He now has some difficulty communicating verbally, but he listens attentively so that he is finally able to approve the plans with the simple statement: “Great!”