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Jacobus Kloppenburg, by Waldo Bien

 ALLINONE BIO-BIBLIO-EXHIBIT-GUIDE-NOTES-LECTURE and the ongoing affair of the destruction of the sculpture ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE by the City of Amsterdam,

Born : Sunday 16 March 1930, 17.00 hrs. Amsterdam, Roelof Hartstraat. In 1933 the family moved to Lauriergracht nr. 111.

Father: Jacobus (Ko) Kloppenburg,  *20.3.1903 Amsterdam, sign-painter, independent Businessman.

Mother:  Agatha Kiljan,  *25.8.1903 Amsterdam.

Sisters: Agaat *1931, Ada *1933.

AMSTERDAM: The Lauriergracht where the Kloppenburg family lived from 1933 lies in a part of the City of Amsterdam known as the Jordaan. The place in which Kloppenburg grew up already had a history of some 300 years, and it was a district with a very distinctive social character, the locals being a mixture of working class people, small business entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, and also with a bohemian element, artists and last but not least an active jazz scene.

 In Kloppenburg's childhood there were dovecotes and pigeon lofts on the roofs of many of the houses, because of the pigeon fanciers in the quarter. The locals had a reputation for being outspoken, for laughter, for drinking and singing to the accompaniment of an accordion. Despite its reputation for anarchy it was a tight knit community. Although not originally from the area, the Kloppenburg's were accepted. This untypical Dutch milieu was the periphery of their daily lives. The family occupy the lower two floors of the canal house Lauriergracht 111. Facing the street is a kitchen in a lower basement, and to the rear there is a small garden with a pear tree, where by mid-day the sun shone, and in the evening moonlight.  Especially during the dark days of the war the skies were swarming with stars. Kloppenburg's bed faces onto the nightly miracle.  Reading the toponomy of this locale is like being on a botanical excursion, Laurel-canal, Rose-canal, Sweetbriar-canal, Flower-canal, Palm-canal, Lily-street, Calendula-street, or being in a bestiary, Hare-street, Rabbit-street, Moose-street, Bears-street, Wolf-street, it is an urban but still paradisiacal place.

1936-1942: Primary school in the Jordaan, Elandsgracht.  According to his own recollection there wasn’t much sitting on the school benches during wartime. Apparently no one minded, "Everybody had something else on his or her mind".

1939, Sept.1: German invasion of Poland. Start of World War 2.

1940, May: The German occupation of the Netherlands. In Amsterdam a time of fear and mistrust, darkness and terror. There is an increasing shortage of food, fuel and other necessities. In the city there is a black-out, and as is often reported in the daily newspapers, one wrong step and you can drown. On German orders windows are blinded with a special black paper, the time for which is announced daily on the front page of the censored newspaper. Jewish people are rounded up, there is endless razzia, a black market, and people are thin and emaciated. Battles take place in the air and there is bombing around Schiphol Airport and of the Fokker companies in the north of Amsterdam. K stands on the rooftops enjoying the fabulous fireworks. It is also a period of 'no trash', there is an endless inventive spirit, with constant improvisation, and everything is re-used. In the Jewish Quarter around the Waterlooplein there is searching for what is 'now' real capital, a stack of discarded things that can be bought for three cents. The route to there from the Lauriergracht takes one over the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal 127 where in the house of the Gomperts, Karel Appel is up in the family garret painting and preparing for the Cobra era.

Family photos of those years show a fresh-faced youngster, reclusive but with a discerning look. Surviving sketch books from the time add to the impression of someone with sharp perception and a vivid sense of animal and plant life. The drawings display a sensitivity of line and a precocious colour sense. Some of them are exactly dated, for example 25.9.1941, and indicate a subtle and intelligent humour. There are also specific reports that the young man who cannot swim, specialises in making handstands by the canal wall and that he goes on his hands to the baker every day. He is also something of a rebel, who arrives at school at the very last moment, just as the door is closing. In his Reformed family a bible lies on the table. Readings are given from it before meals. At certain times psalms are sung around the harmonium, acquired for that purpose:

'The Lord is my Shepherd…'

He was very taken with the bible illustrations of Rembrandt.

1943: Attending High School, Noord-School Prinsengracht and Instituut Bladergroen until 1947: His father sets him on course of study in calligraphy with an eye to his own advertising business. These mind-numbing repetitions of line and text spur him into his own first experiments with punning and other linguistic inventions. His dominating and hardheaded father defines 'free' artistic expression as useless and taboo, under the equation art=luxury and therefore socially useless. From that time K works in secret on his own free expression, on paper and carton board from the advertising office or from the printer's at the corner. It is cheap (costs nothing) and since it does not have a fixed format, this is also for him an inspiring experience.  His artistic research is supported and stimulated by his mother Agatha with whom he has a close and intense relationship. She has an open and indulgent character and is diligent and caring. She also is creative and with the products of her own handicraft provides daily bread for the family. She later runs a business, Het Kleurhuis, at the corner of the Keizersgracht and the Spiegelstraat. The children share with their mother a love of nature. K, with his sisters Ada and Agaat help out with design and production. It is a busy household with much coming and going, the daily needs of the advertising business, the constant supplies and deliveries being made, the many things to be done. Scraps of paper survive with bills and invoices all jumbled together, for example, one document reads: hooks for curtains, a key, a half loaf of bread (white), starch, 124 cm tape, memo paper from Goedkoop, half an ounce of lard, 3 x petroleum, bus ticket, parsnip, linseed oil, black or grey yarn, mop, jute, vinegar, carton receipt, Lindeman sugar, cat, clasps, etc. Reading the list quickly and glancing at it overall one could feel like a visitor to Lewis Carrol's Wonderland, and by the same token one could enter into the later development of K and his personal iconography.

1943: In this year his father leaves the family and elopes with another woman, the mother of his new stepbrother Sipke Huismans with whom Kokkie (nickname for Jacobus) hangs out. Sipke is also quick and intelligent and artistically talented, liking also to make drawings. NOTE: Sipke Huismans *5th May 1936. Dutch visual artist, graphic designer and draughtsman who on the personal recommendation of Sandberg the director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, receives an educational grant, and later becomes the well-respected director of the Art Academy in Enschede.NL.

Climbing through a cat trap-door in the rear of the house K gets into the De Pelikaan warehouse next door at Lauriergracht 109, which is packed with theatre props and decor from the Wagner Society that had been founded in 1884.  From that day on K makes frequent incursions into the depot, sometimes with Ada or Agaat. These adventures are like cultural tours, which look to be the seed for the later 'Artchive for the Future'. In a surviving inventory book of the Wagner Society, with extensive manuscript annotations, there is a complete index of the decor, costumes, weaponry etc., with precise place locations given of the contents of the warehouse (Dutch Theatre Archive). This gives an impression of how exotic and striking this must have appeared and how optically rich the cluster of heavy fabrics, props and decorations, the heavy pinewood floorboards, ceiling trusses. Everything was also overlaid with a mysterious and dynamic gold or silver light, that would flood through depending on the time of day or the season (The Light Oracle, Golden Eternity). On the ceiling beams of this initiation-shrine stagehands had written in white letters the key to it all: Siegfried, Lohengrin, Götterdämmerung, Parsifal, Rheingold (photos can be see in the 50th anniversary issue of the Wagner Vereniging, Amsterdam, 1934).

1944: The Winter of Starvation. While the Allies marched on Berlin the Northern Netherlands remained under German control and were cut off from food supplies. There is enormous suffering and especially for families with growing children and without any means. Jacobus's mother is forced to undertake long and difficult forays from the city into the countryside, to the farmers, in search of food. Her bicycle has no tyres and some of the surrounding North Holland Polders have been flooded by the Germans. She trades her own handicraft work such as woven grocery baskets with colourful appliqué felt flowers, her 'happy craftworks', for a few potatoes, milk, sometimes butter and eggs with the farmers. K scrapes and sieves coal dust from the harbour and saws saplings for the emergency stove. Just around the corner along the Prinsengracht by the Westertoren Anne Frank had made her final diary entries. The daily meal consists of a bowl of watery soup, and people go to bed hungry. The acute physical hardship results in K's lifelong obsession with food, but also the care and flair with which he prepares it.

1945 May: German capitulation and the end of the war in Europe. There is general rejoicing, except, for Karel Appel it is bad news. Following on the War the Gomperts family returns and Karel Appel has to leave his atelier-garret, for which alas he has never forgiven Gomperts. Unintentionally Appel left something beautiful behind (F.I.U. Info primeur): on some beams, now painted over, there are some beautiful Cobra paintings that I have personally seen.  For the Wagner Society the outbreak of anti-German feeling marked a difficult time. The warehouse of De Pelikaan was completely silent until 1949, when in that year the first post-war Wagner production of the Flying Dutchman was staged in The Hague.

K on the back of daddies bike. The young boy in the front is his stepbrother Sipke Huismans

K with sisters on the beach

K riding a donkey 1941
K on donkey

k with sisters

Duck with Egg 1941



Richard Wagner, 1813-1883



Wartime evening sky with firework.

Jordaan Hazestraat Dolf Toussaint02

Summer vacation, Wijk aan Zee, 1941.


Storehouse ‘De Pelikaan’ (the Pelican), built in the 17th century to store coffee, seen from the Westside, 1980

Wagner Theather Archive Pelikaan 193002
Theatre props in the Pelican storehouse, around 1930.

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Karel Appel in his studio Oudezijdsvoorburgwal 127.



1946: K plays hockey in the AMVJ team and designs their note paper and posters. He takes part in international competitions until 1970. Arrives at the conclusion that because of national character the same game is played differently in every country. The school report of December 15 1946, Stichting Pyschologisch-Paedagogisch Instituut Amsterdam, gives the following results: natural sciences; highly motivated, excellent results. History; weak. Drawing; very good, has talent. Physical training; excellent. French and German; insufficient. English; could improve. Maths; sufficient. The report concludes by remarking "a final word of caution for Ko to make better use of his abilities".

From this time he makes regular trips to the Stedelijk Museum, its library, and the exhibitions which were being mounted by the legendary director Sandberg, who introduced modern art to post war Holland. Speaking in 2004, K stated: "Kandinsky was the biggest shock and Morandi. In Klee it was the simplicity that was most surprising. Miro was in a kind of cul de sac because of his success. Salvador Dali's bending of reality fascinated me. Then there was Le Corbusier, Brancusi, Bauhaus, Zadkine, Arp... But art wasn't the only influence. Looking at the Necchi sowing machines was just as much of a shock. What a wonderful time. It really aroused the desire for knowledge and renewal". For the following ten years his response to the avant-garde can be traced in drawings, gouaches, where there is continuing research and probing of the expression and thinking of the modern masters according to their content, the fruitfulness of their method and their long term potential, or to put it another way, their 'load-bearing' capacity, how much it could support. A good example is his critical commentary on an undated work which is grafted onto a Cobra painting which he signs 'Jan Peters, 13 years old'. The gouache is the result of an intensive engagement with the art of Cobra, and K clearly doubts its intellectual potential. In light of this he develops his own personal script as a result of a long process of revision and refinement. This takes place as a kind of deviant behaviour, underground, as he has to keep everything hidden and out of his father's sight. There was also the fascination with the new sound coming out of America which was so overwhelming, Charley Parker, Thelonious Monk, Jazz, Be-bop. Whilst having his hair done by his step-brother in law he is subjected to recitations from Lucebert and Slauerhof. K begins designing a modern interior for the house. He throws out the rather patriarchal pre-war interior which can be seen from photos in the archive, and replaces it with a minimalist scheme in bright and open colours. This is followed by series of furniture designs.

1947: First trip abroad by bicycle, to the Ardennes in Belgium, and to the North of France. He starts his first realist paintings of landscapes with water and trees. Talking about this in 2004 he recounts that it was 'horrendously boring work'.

1948: Takes up full-time work in his father's advertising business after leaving school (MULO). His father is often riled; for example, when he is told to make a certain colour, Jacobus, becomes so fascinated by the mixing process used for the paint and by so many possibilities, he makes dozens of colours and colour samples (he clearly remembers long series of very special greys and blacks).

1949: Friendship with the photographer Philip Mechanicus, who in the following years makes several striking portraits of K.

1950: Leo Klein, his brother in law, and at that time a photographer, later a teacher in a Rudolf Steiner school, introduced him to the work of Rudolf Steiner and his text The Philosophy of Freedom, which was to begin a process that has continued through deeper engagement and insight to the present. He takes a second study trip by bike to Belgium during the summer holidays of 1950, and visits museums, to study the old Flemish masters. Makes his first photographs of trash on the foot-path of Lauriergracht (fruit and vegetable crates). His interest is aroused in what 'socially' is generally considered as disorder and chaos. An undated gouache from this period shows a motif of a chaotic and loosely strewn suitcase (Museum Schloss Moyland). This goes perfectly with jazz and his fragmentary reading of Joyce. His stepbrother guides his musical and literary interests.

1952, July-August: Study-trip by bicycle to Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany (Eifel). Takes photos of architectural features (archive).

1953, Summer: Study-trip to France. Postcard from Paris to his mother. Moon - day 5-8. "Dear Mother congratulations with 'our' save arrival heartfelt best wishes from here. Accompanied by nightfall we entered Paris, du pain, du fromage, du Thé and the Seine. Tomorrow Picasso, cooking a hot meal… maybe even eat it" (F.I.U.archive). NOTE: This final remark betrays a subtle and mocking self-knowledge, given that when his mother used to cook he would often be so engrossed, much to the annoyance of his mother, he would often not eat until much later, or, not at all. K stays in Paris with Tini, the sister of a friend and colleague, Rudi van de Windt. She works in Paris as an au pair. In the following years there is exchange of correspondence and return visits..

He is approached in the same year by Leo Klein and his sister Ada with a commission to design a houseboat for a berth in Nieuwkoop. This leads to a long series of architectural and furniture designs (F.I.U.archive). He explores the use of the golden section, a system of proportion used as an everyday device in sign-painting and typography. It also led to a broader 'universal thinking' on his part. K observes in 2004 "What I discovered then, and this surprised me the most, even to this very day, every day, was that through the golden section, which every schoolchild was supposed to know, I gained access to almost everything around me, to ancient cultures, classics, Bauhaus, language, music, Bach, through to Parker, nature and space, everything. You can hardly imagine how big a shock it was for me. All of a sudden my world became much larger and also much more accessible. That is the reason why my intrest never stopped."

1957: K submits the houseboat designs to an international design competition for architects, run by a Swiss manufacturer of asbestos sheets (measuring 100 x 200cm). His entry is awarded fourth place. Catalogue, 1958, with photos by Philip Mechanicus (Triodos-F.I.U.tures Collection). K is now making his photo series with double exposures in the garden of Lauriergracht 111 (F.I.U.archive), which emerges from his use in drawing and calligraphy of double and parallel linear projections. In this technique the same motif is photographed twice, during the second shot the camera has been moved slightly, without any shift in the film. The usual definition of the photo, or snap-shot as of a fixed 'moment', is reflected in the second shot, and there are then two 'moments' being visualised which enter into connection with each other. This is how an interval arises granting a different dimension with respect to content. Twenty-five years later this technique is deployed in a complex photographic work entitled REALITIJD=REALTIME, as the main motif.

1958-59: Research and experimentation with chemicals and paints (Alchemical Kitchen). He develops a technique which allows him to manipulate two different principles of form; one is that of crystallisation and the other that of 'flow-form', that is the mineral and the organic powers of form, which in nature are working inside and around us. His working area is a large zinc water basin, which with a piece of wood placed on it is used as his bed as well, the waterbed. The paint drifts on the surface of the water and it is then brought into contact with the chemicals which initiates a reaction. By adding a quantity of a quick drying medium this causes the paint to suddenly contract and shrink. K is not aiming for a pictorial effect. In the first instance he is an experimenter observing the chemical process as a phenomenon of nature. The optical result is reminiscent of ice floes, anorganic matter and mineralisation, or, on the other side, the floating paint is thinned out by a solvent and spontaneously flows and expands in formal organic pattern in every direction. What results then is taken from the surface by stretching a silk canvas over a wooden frame. The process as it emerges is corrected by hand and manipulated. He named this his FORM RESEARCH CENTRE-FREE FORM FORMULA. (The textconcept is layed out in mirror form). Several fragile works are thus created (FIUWAC). He sees commercial possibilities in the results, several new designs follow, but now with a specific eye to the production of exclusive hand-printed textiles for fashion or interior architecture. EEYAA. He contributes to the cover design for the literary magazine BARBARBER which appears quarterly, and co-operates with writers such as Henk Marsman (Bernlef) K. Schippers, Sipke Huismans, Freek Fels, G. Brands, among others


Summer vacation, 1945.

K’s post-war design for living room and furniture.

Design for the monthly Hockey Newspaper, around 1950



Calligraphy study.

Passport photo, 1950.

Cobra like painting on board which K signed ‘Jan Peters, 13 years old’, around 1948


The realized design for the houseboat in Nieuwkoop, 1956

Trash photograph with vegetable and fruit crates from next-door Looman & Zonen Company, around 1959

Portrait by Ph. Mechanicus, around 1952

Gouache with unpacked suitcase as motif, undated.

First flow forms on silk. (FIUWAC)

First flow forms on silk. (FIUWAC)

dessin eeyaa02

1960: Registers his trademark EEYAA Dessin. Typographical and design studies for EEYAA stationery and PR material. The working design maintains a clear and human-technical dimension, it is a question of the hand that forms uniting symbiotically with the printing machine. On the delicate prints which he makes is written: "Eeyaa" (on some products written as EEYAA) the name of a hero from the Gilgamesh Epic who is known for his silent nature. Eeyaa is also a whole new art of textile design where neither individual expression of the designer, nor, the structure of the material has the upper hand, instead, there is a synthesis of nature and culture.

The first printer's proofs are made on the black-out paper from the war years. An ink-printed package from FA. NV Meyer (24-2-60) is addressed to FA screendry Jacko (F.I.U.archive).

1961: Accident with moped. Complicated fracture of leg and long rehabilitation in hospital: diary-entries and unsent letters (F.I.U.archive).

1963: The Wagner Society moves from the De Pelikaan warehouse at 109, next door to K; it had served as a depot for decor and props and as a workshop since 1884. K now rents the empty 5th floor, and some years later the 6th floor, and in the early years shares the space with artist friends Rudi van de Windt and Theo Blom. He takes over the old theatre foot-lights from the Wagner Society, and along with the memories of earlier visits, these form the fundament on which the later sculptural development of the ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE is grafted. The first thing which takes place in the atelier is the building of a screen print installation for the production of EEYAA textile samples. He takes these to the buyer for METZ, a well established and leading interior design shop in Amsterdam. The specialist buyer is amazed at K's samples and acknowledges what he sees as a high class product emanating from 'doubtless a Parisian fashion house'. He refused to believe K telling him that he had done it himself and in an atelier not a stone's throw away. He is accused of lying, and K feels deeply embarrassed.

As a textiles representative, Max Havelaar takes the textile samples to the international textiles fair in Hannover. A large order from Japan and Korea follows, perhaps because the designs fit so well with classical fabrics for kimonos. K searches for production methods to meet the unexpected demand. Print proofs from the textile industry do not however produce the outstanding quality K demands. The differences between machine produced fabric and the product manually crafted onto natural silk, cannot be glossed over. The painting products required for the specific printing process, CIBAcrome, are suddenly taken off the market and production is cancelled. K looks for alternatives. Starts setting up his own mass-production haute-couture line: INSTANT FASHION EE-LOOK. He has discovered an American textile glue which renders the sewing machine redundant; one can choose one of his haute-couture designs together with a preferred EEYAA fabric. After indicating the preferred size one receives the pre-cut fashion product in a special envelope and one can start to glue it together at home; INSTANT FASHION EE-LOOK, elegantly dressed women, freed from the burden of the sewing machine. God bless America. Eventually he abandons the idea due to a lack of financiers. Salesman Havelaar sells off the entire stock of samples to cover his costs. NOTE: Letter of K's mother to creditor M.H., Amsterdam 5 Feb. 1963; "hereby we are forced to announce that we have no money to pay you as yet. It all may seem terribly unbelievable when I tell you that the money we have worked so hard for, has been used by salesman X."

1963: Effectively it is the left-overs from the EEYAA research and phase of production which form the lowest strata of the ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE - although this is not something deliberate at this point. He prefers to work at night, illuminated by the theatre foot-lights and other lamps he has found on the street. The first pieces of furniture also find their way to the fifth floor, brought there with the old hoist ropes that have been in use for hundreds of years. The large space is mostly empty. The streets have now more to offer than ever before. The liberation of 1945 also saw the beginning of the consumer society. This really starts to intensify. Things which once had a meaning for their owners as 'capital' are now ejected by society onto the side of the street in order to make way for new goods; there is an instant change of status and a hundred percent loss of value, a turn around from plus to minus. By integrating these discarded goods into another process of thinking and sculpting the lost value is reversed again. As K points out in November 2004 this is not a question of re-cycling, but rather of another 'use', indeed, the 'ultimate use'. For him these things are always new, and their value remains, for the moment, undeclared. The pigeon lofts on the rooftops are now surrounded by TV antennae (in 2004, these have since disappeared). Owning a motor car becomes popular. Amsterdam is filling up. K is critical and selective in his choices. He makes his selection on the basis of pre-conceived standards: a) something must have a marked individual character, b) it must have the properties of being assimilable and capable of forming a unity with other things in the context of the creative interdisciplinary programme. What gets put aside at one stage of this process becomes the foreground, or, background of later developments. The 'ensemble' bit becomes the sediment of the work process and is at the same time the incubator for further developments. The laboratory is an initiation site and an instrument, which, with different emphasis, and accentuation, can be re-aligned and playfully re-combined. A specific biospace is created, where the most diverse and eccentric life forms emerge, it is a world of manifestation whose limits and pre-conditions need to be more precisely determined. The 'illumination', or, clarification is divided into two categories, one dynamic (daylight) and the other static (electric night light). The artificial light which K installs has a sensitive mixture of qualities; dayglow lamps, carbon bulbs, candles, a petrol lamp, silver, copper, aluminium reflectors, bright bulbs, halogen, TL fluorescent lights, in different tones and coloured lamps etc. The deployment of the light is not from a fixed source from above, but is thought of in the round and throughout the space, that is, thought of in a spatial and sculptural sense. By using carefully placed accents there is a creative possession of the enormous space and it is then treated as a unity. Thus, anything that occurs in the space, or, takes place there, is part of the whole artwork. In order to further dynamise and enliven the sculptural ensemble, K includes an unquantifiable acoustic component, a background and foreground of sound, for example, a mixture of two softly played radio programmes, preferably of music and voice. This brings to the environment a subtle and unpredictable swinging movement, a kind of pregnancy, like the floating of an embryo in amniotic fluid.  This insight derives, as has been noted earlier, from a long process of vision, revision, refinement. On his own account, the reading of Steiner along with the works of Rembrandt and Vermeer guided his direction.

Advertising and individual commissions provided income up to 1970. Nevertheless there are constant summonses and requests for outstanding payments, sometimes with the appearance of bailiffs in the 'name of her Majesty the Queen' (F.I.U.archive)

In the remaining available time --and as K hardly sleeps, because he finds it 'an enormous waste of time', this is a lot-- K puts his effort into the further development of calligraphy, form and context.  He makes in that year a portrait of Rudi van der Windt with a Flemish Ogre (a sort of rabbit).

1965: MODERN LIGHTING DESIGN: K's exclusive hand-printed silk is used on exclusive lamp shades in the interior design market (exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, on the invitation of the director Sandberg (F.I.U.archive). NOTE: Parallel to this and far away in the South, in Limburg, in casino Treebeek, sits a young man named Waldo Bien. (Waldo Bien, *1949 's-Gravenhage). He was looking at a photographic book by Dolf Toussant on the city quarter of Amsterdam, De JORDAAN. He has a keen interest in a naked woman, an artist's model, which keeps him fascinated.  His mother, concerned with moral degeneracy, gets rid of the book (to be continued).

1967-1969: K starts consistently to give an exact date and time, down to the minute, of his works. This creates a legible and re-readable script where his developments can be studied afterwards, but, for him, it also affords information on how long things have taken. He shares with the oriental masters of calligraphy a concern for the rapidity and the virtuoso quality of the gesture, a view that a minimal impact is of great importance. It is a mark of Kloppenburg's sense of the economical not to spend more time on anything than is absolutely essential, but, equally, that can also be a very long time. K sets the bar very high for his working standards. For similar reasons of economy he often draws on both sides of the paper, sometimes turning the paper round in a random way, which makes it both necessary and possible to read the drawings from multiple directions. A sheet is 'full' in the sense that is dictated by its level of saturation. His credo is, do within the available space and with minimal means as much as the space and your concept allow, without collapsing. The scale of balance that K maintains can range from crammed to almost empty. Sometimes there are several lines, and sometimes just a crease, or, a cut in a piece of paper is enough. His application for admission to the BKR of 1968 was rejected because his work did not meet with their requirements. At the same time K makes subtle pen and ink drawings of a marked surreal character in this period, which can be traced from his haute couture cut-outs, the playful and inspiring INSTANT FASHION confection, with its curving lines and cut patterns which are spatialised and moved towards ductile metamorphosis and suggestions of organic architecture.  Also, an early version of the REDUCED ALPHABET is visualised, the so-called HIATUS ALPHABET in which the middle part of the text is rubbed out horizontally (drawing 29-7-69 F.I.U.archive).



test stof02

test stof104

Advertisement design for EEYAA, 1959

Floor plan of De Pelikaan building Lauriergracht 109. From 1963 till October 1997 K’s atelier and Artchive for the Future in progress.

Stationary for EEYAA, around 1960.

Bauknecht at work Lauriergracht 12302
The painter Eric Bauknecht at work at his studio Lauriergracht 123, 4th floor,1960

Mail envelope for EEYAA.

(view on archive section with bottles and tools)

(surrealistic drawing)

Railway ticket.

 1970: Admitted to the BKR, the arrangement made to purchase visual art established in the post-war years by the Dutch Government, originally called Contra Performance -which proves that, in accordance with the commercial spirit of the nation, there was no intention to give good money, pro bono, to artists. The annual government supported purchase of art from included artists and allowed them sufficient support to continue working without being exposed to economic hardship. The acquired art works were used to decorate government buildings. Karel Appel was one of the first to make good use of it.  By 1987, due to mounting costs, bureaucracy, and political climate, the regulation became so controversial it was abandoned by the government. > See the 1986 reviews of Kloppenburg's Fodor Exhibition.

Participates in Spring Valley Summer Symposium USA, and anthroposophical youth seminar.  There K meets with Eva Arnscheidt who works as a teacher of the disabled, and is the daughter of Professor Kurt H.A. Arnscheidt of the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, painting department (he is one of the teachers who supports Beuys's appointment as a Professor) and of Amalie Hoffmann, an x-ray laboratory assistant, who since her evacuation during the war from a house in Berneburg, Sauerland, continued with her reading of the Nazi banned writings of Rudolf Steiner, and had become an anthroposophist. Some weeks later, on 28 October, Jacobus Kloppenburg and Eva Arnscheidt get married and move into a 17th century house in Düsseldorf, Neubrückstrasse 6, 1st floor. Some years later also the 2nd and 3rd floor and the attic follow. The authentic house has survived the bombardments of the war without considerable damage and is conveniently located in the hart of the old city, the 'Altstadt', and only a stone's throw away from the Art Academy in the Eiskellerstrasse where at the time the heart of Future-Art beats heavily, as time has taught; Joseph Beuys, Erweiterten Kunstbegriff, Social Sculpture.

NOTE: At that time unrest prevails in the entire Western world. Students and intellectuals have been demanding social, ecological and economical change and more autonomy for universities. In various European countries, military dictatorial regimes are in power. In South Africa Apartheid reigns, the strict separation between black and white citizens, based on the idea of a superior white race. In the USA students and civilians protest against the Vietnam war, napalm bombs and Agent Orange, and the black population fights for equal rights. It is a time of protest songs, ideals and engagement. The political situation in Germany at the time is tense. The capitalist democratic West and the Socialist East are divided by an actual wall; people who attempt to flee are shot to death. There is an imminent danger of atomic war. People are granted considerable subsidies for having a nuclear air-raid shelter built into the cellars of their houses. The dissatisfaction of students and intellectuals expresses itself through fierce demonstrations against government policy. The confidence in politics has dropped to zero and an opposition party outside of parliament has come into being (APO, Ausser Parlementarische Opposition). But most of all the terrorist activities of the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion) and the so-called 'Bader-Meinhof Bande', who appear to be connected to other, international terrorist movements (IRA and PLO), push the German constitutional state to the edge of democracy. Political hysteria and social polarisation prevail. Kidnappings and political assassinations take place, aeroplanes are being hijacked. The SDP government responds with a "RADIKALEN ERLASS": ultra-left oriented public servants are banned from their profession. Such is the periphery of the things related here.

The new house in Neubrückstrasse, between the Palace of Justice and the Kunsthal, is affordable because it has, according to the owner, one big disadvantage: there is a Bechstein grand-piano in the room at the front side of the house, a remnant from a previous letter, but since the windows were renewed it can no longer be removed. K detunes the piano by fitting the inside with all kinds of additives: nails, marbles, loose metal springs, sheets of paper, glasses etc., whereby unexpected noises and tones are produced, and the sound becomes reminiscent of sunken ships and the deepest of jazz caves. The Psalms commending and praising God's Greatness, played on the harmonium in past years, are the first to be immersed in it, and they reappear from the resonance box completely "de- and reformed". It is the start of a series of musical experiments, amongst which an improvisation on prepared piano, 180 minutes, recorded in Düsseldorf on the 20th of December 1981, on Philips SQ C-90 cassette tape (F.I.U.archive).

Friendship with Lothar Baumgarten (who lives on the same address at the back of the house) and acquaintance with the Beuys class at the Art Academy (Beuys scene). Participates in the summer exhibition in museum Fodor, Amsterdam, in January (drawing purchased by Stedelijk Museum, reg.no. A-29315). The admittance to the BKR relieves Kloppenburg from the daily financial concerns and allows him to concentrate completely on his art. Over the following 15 years (until 1985) he creates a series of large geometric artworks, especially for the BKR for which he has to hand in work twice a year. The geometrical A4 series made in the past form the starting point for these larger works. This working cycle runs parallel to what K describes as his 'free' work, the adventures with the 'freely' drawing hand. The geometrical works are the result of thinking, ratio, and he has no problem to show them to the outside world. But the free work is first and foremost an experiment devoid of pretensions and not a product. Thus, this is made in nocturnal 'illegality', hidden away from the eyes of the world. Eventually, they will of course meet and blend together. Because of the changed financial situation, the image-segments of The ARCHIVE, now in full development, no longer only have to come from the streets (for free). A period begins in which large quantities of goods are bought at auction house De Eland, and also on Waterlooplein and the Noordermarkt (Eland dossier, F.I.U.archief). When searching the city for ingredients, K sometimes loads his bicycle unimaginably heavy with boxes and goods that are fastened with electricity cords, ties, nylon stockings, tubes and ropes. In some very successful cases the bike is not unloaded at home but hoisted as it is and placed in The Archive as a sculpture. Another consequence of the recent developments is that K now lives and works in multiple places simultaneously and thus, apart from the exact date, hour and minute of creation, now also adds the coded place of creation to his work: L(Lauriergracht), N (Neubrückstrasse), M (Merowingerstrasse), T (Ternaard). Because of pragmatic reasons, from that time on K no longer works on separate pieces of paper but preferably on 'noteblocs', A4, A3, cash register books etc. As a result the geometrical and the free drawings now come together within the connected unity of the notebloc and flow over into each other. The paper which is used preferably has a certain transparency which allows the drawings to be seen in optical connection to each other, something artists usually try to avoid. As such it also becomes possible to include elements of a previous drawing into a new one and so to be further developed. Sometimes this logic is also intentionally reversed, for example by skipping a dozen pages and then working backwards. Only the noted exact date and time give closer insight into this complicated and intentionally confusing game. On his own account, he does not mention the game of confusion, the blending of opposite categories. It is after all not produced as a consumer article. But when the spectator himself discovers something and informs about it, immediately all the rules of the game are explained in detail with great pleasure. Also the use of the pencil changes dramatically; in the geometrical drawings it is used for drawing constant and steady lines. Here, the pressure applied on the pencil remains constant. It is a different case in the 'free' drawings however. The drawings in pen were more or less constant, a characteristic of the pens used (although one can see attempts to manipulate this). But with a suitable pencil, K prefers PENTEL propelling pencils hb, it is possible through subtle differences in pressure, to draw a pulsating line which, so to speak, lashes through and in space as a whip. The drawing pencil in fact has to be an extremely subtle instrument which can be operated with minimal energy in the hand of a human being 'virtually' asleep. The drawing is thought as 3-dimensional, as linear sculpture in space, as logos and universe. The sketchbooks can easily be brought along on the constant journeys between Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Friesland, so that the Lorelei Express train compartment also becomes atelier, production site, photo studio, coulisse and dining room. The notes and texts now become multilingual; Dutch, German, English. Kloppenburg always travels with large quantities of luggage, suitcases and bags he splays around him in order to create a familiar working environment. It is not about the creation of a place but rather the demarcation of a space. The sketchbook production can be seen as a signature of his oeuvre, and the working script for the ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE. A series of interior design sketches follow which are directly related to his new addresses in Düsseldorf and Friesland.

At the same time as Jacobus, Waldo Bien (1949) arrived in Düsseldorf, Oberkassel but in a very different way. He had left home to take a long trip to India, but is robbed of his travel money in Düsseldorf, just around the corner from where Beuys lives and becomes a student in his class, Raum 20, in the Art Academy. Bien marries the book-seller Betina Helf, and they have two children, Sebastiaan and Hendrik.

NOTE: Raum 20 Klasse Beuys (The Beuys Class). Beuys is Professor at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1961 until 10-10 1972, the day on which he is discharged by the Education Minister Johannes Rau, for political reasons. Together with his students Beuys occupies the secretary's office of the Art Academy to contest the decision about the enrolment of students who have been refused admittance. He refers to a previous Senate decision which states that every teacher has the right to admit as many students to his, or, her, class as he, or she, sees fit. The sacking of Beuys is the beginning of a long legal and ideological dispute which is finally settled in favour of Beuys, with a judgement handed down at the highest legal level.  The Beuys class is a site of transformation for a whole generation of outstanding artists - Sigmar Polke, Tadeus, Blinky Palermo, Katharina Sieverding, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Jörg Immendorf, Lothar Baumgarten, Immi Knoebel, Michael Rutkowsky, Anatol, Walter Dahn, Felix Droese, Johannes Stüttgen, Anselm Kiefer, and so on. The Beuys Klasse has several classrooms or working spaces at its disposal. Classroom 20 is one of the largest and becomes a central meeting place. The weekly 'group discussions' in which everyone is seated in a circle and accessible to everyone attracts a very diverse audience, especially on Friday, they are eagerly awaited meetings that no one likes to miss, and everyone is asked to make an active contribution, either in the form of an art-work, by commentary, suggestions or participating in the discourse.


Love at first sight; Jacobus Kloppenburg and Eva Arnscheidt, 1970.

Auction house De Eland and list with acquisitions for the Artchive.1972


Auction house labels with the description of acquired goods.

From a series of small surrealistic drawings, 1972

Joseph Beuys: Who is still interested in political parties? Experimenta 4, Frankfurt am Main, 1971.

Interior design for house Neubrückstrasse Düsseldorf, 1972

K on atelier roof Sipke Huismans
K on his atelier roof, photo: Sipke Huismans

Joseph Beuys with Earth Telephone, FIUWAC



1972: Rents atelier in the Merowingerstrasse 14, Düsseldorf, and in the same year buys an atelier-farm at a dyke in Ternaard, Friesland NL (until 1989). This is immediately followed by the planting and lay-out of a biological dynamical garden, an experiment with plant growth based on Maria Thun's sowing calendar. This method proposes an essential connection between plants and the constellation of the planets. Seeds have thus to be planted at very specific times and on particular days. The local Frisian farmers are astonished to find K at work in his garden by night, under table lamps. It gives rise to curiosity and suspicion.  (Thirteen years later the same Frisian farmers, after reading in the newspaper about the sensational exhibition in the Fodor Museum, came by train to Amsterdam, to look at his art, and ever afterwards he is treated with respect and tolerance). The sap and fibre of the plant is incorporated as a medium in the drawings, photographs and objects, leaves are dried, and this study of the growth of plants and the shape of leaves connects effortlessly with that of his geometric studies. The presence of the golden section is a constant in the work. His stay in Friesland, and especially the presence of his children also involves a closer connection with animals, which he observes more closely and they enter his work more and more as a motif. The farm is situated at the foot of a large sea-dyke and lying beyond it are typical mudflats, sometimes land, sometimes sea, depending on the rhythmic ebbing and flowing of the tide, and the phases of the moon. There are sheep, cows, hares, frogs, fish, typical mudflat bird life. A camera is often used.

1972 July-August: Study-trip with Lothar Baumgarten via France to England (sound recording of bats  for a Baumgarten movie). In Aberdeen K changes the expiry date on a Britrail pass to prolong their stay despite financial shortage. On 7-10-1985 Baumgarten sent the following letter to K: 'Dear Jacobus Today whilst clearing I found your brilliant falsification. Greetings. I hope we are each safe and well in 86, Your's Lothar (formerly Baumgarten archive to 7.10.1985, now FIUWAC 417-2003). In that same year his geometrical research results in a 'pure form' design based directly on the principle of the golden section - a rhythmical sequence of three cubes that become proportionately smaller. This is the earliest surviving design for the ARTCHIVE OF THE FUTURE pavilion (F.I.U.archive).

1972: Acquisition by BKR of a sculpture based on the golden section..

1973: Acquisition by BKR of 'object without title'. Participation in exhibition Museum Fodor, running June-September.

1973, 27 April: In reaction to the urgent general need for Academies with a true Free Spirit Life, without interference and control of the State, Joseph Beuys founds the "Freien Internationalen Hochschule fur Kreativität und Interdisciplinaire Forschung, FlU, supported by a manifesto concerning this new 'interdisciplinary' concept by Nobel price laureate Heinrich BöIl, and lawyer Klaus Staek, the professors George Meistermann, Erwin Heerich, Gerhard Richter, Walter Wamach and Paul Wember, Dir. Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Kreefeld, Egon Thiemann, Dir. Museum am Ostwall Dortmund, Wilie Bongard and Melitta Mitscherlich. NOTE: It is on the initiative of Eva Kloppenburg Arnscheidt that Joseph Beuys and Heinrich BöIl are brought into contact, especially in view of a possible collaboration according to the mentioned FlU ideal. Eva had worked for Heinrich BöIl in Ireland in 1968, and knew Beuys through her father, Prof. Kurt Arnscheidt.

1974, April: acquisition by BKR of 2 g.s. variations Red Blue White.

Furthermore: diagonal variations square.

1974, 27th of November: Birth of son Ilja Jacobus Kiljan.

1975: acquisition by BKR of objects; "on-of", mixed technique. "1/2 m2 : 3", mixed techniques.

1975, 19th of November: birth of daughter Elena Iona


"square and quadrangle", 125x125cm, mixed techniques. "Composition with vertical red and horizontal Blue line" 125x125cm, mixed techniques.

1976: Crayon drawing and painting in water colours with his children.

NOTE: This is part of the pedagogical guidelines of R. Steiner, according to which the Kloppenburg-Arnscheidt children are raised. It introduces pastel as "the" medium determining his expression during the following 10 years, initially on notebloc size, A4 and A3, and later on wrapping paper of 70x100 cm and 100x150cm. This pastel production finds its climax in the exhibition in Museum Fodor, 1985, with a series of pastel drawings on 150x150cm birch plywood.

1977, 12th of October: The city of Amsterdam commissions K "to make drawings, pastels, or watercolours for the topographic atlas of Amsterdam" (No. 440C/1). K manipulates a series of photos of Lauriergracht and direct environment, some taken from the rooftop of The Archive. From here one can see that a lot has changed over the last years. The remaining dovecotes on the rooftops are now surrounded by a forest of television antennae (at present, in 2004, they have disappeared again). A remarkable example of the game of optical illusion and spiritual unification in which K is involved, is the photo of the Lauriergracht; The first impression is that of a Dutch cityscape during winter. A man in a blue shirt bends over standing on the ice. At closer inspection the image turns out to be a photographic negative which is transformed very subtly into a positive by means of colour accents. The ice turns out to be water and the bending man is someone busy bailing a sunken rowing boat. Through this transformation of photographic negative into positive on one and the same paper, both opposites blend together. As such an "instant tryptychon" is brought into being, a triptych inside a single image, a trinity.


"index 90 gr. C", 153x153cm, mixed techniques.

"4 circles in half", (4x) 98,5x98,5cm, mixed techniques.

"Dye & Fall", (3x) 52xl00cm, mixed techniques.

From now on K is working on three interdisciplinary researches running parallel; The constructivist works, the development of "free forms", and the "motoric handwriting". In this last category he seeks to strip his handwriting of every textual meaning so that only the locomotion of the writing remains as pictography. Because of the virtuosity with which this is done, the lines of text transform into a new "image-language"; through the locomotion of a greyhound freed from its leash a completely free and undisturbed pattern comes into being, made of lines from which figures and beings automatically emerge; thus to the uninhibited perception the motoric curves of the writing may now resemble the ears of hares or other animals. The question as to the meaning of the other motoric lines in this context thus arises automatically. The answer seems clear: the sharp and angular lines form a reference to geometry. The artist does not "introduce" geometry here as an idea, but rather "recognises" it as being already present within it. Likewise, calculations are no longer placed where they would be obvious, but used as accents or brushstrokes adding a reference to space and time to the composition, just like the words should supply the drawings with sound, far beyond their often trivial anecdotal value. The calculations in the geometrical drawings are pictorial ingredients. Sometimes, by surrounding calculations with a figurative line, they become "figure" and so mass and volume, space and time. Leaving the esoteric meaning of these shifts aside, it is absolutely necessary that the reader and spectator understand that Kloppenburg's actions and thinking take place within this spiritually educated framework. Without an understanding of these things also Beuys, Mondriaan, Kandinsky, Newman, etc. (The Spiritual in Art), are only accessible up to a certain point. On the wall of the ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE hangs a sheet of paper with the following text; REALITIJD = REAL TIME (in Dutch; realiteit = reality; and, Tijd = Time). During the following years, the iconographic developments of all mentioned frequencies, flow together and form a single and new, assimilated image-language, or rather 'Erscheinungswelt', for which the sculpture ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE is the decor, entirely in keeping with the tradition of the Wagner depot. In 1848 Wagner published "DAS KUNSTWERK DER ZUKUNFT', a crusade against the art of his time, against bourgeois society and the paralysis of the opera business in the court theatres. By launching the 'Gesamtkunst', Wagner takes a fundamental stand against all conventional bourgeois art. 125 years later Beuys, in his turn, would declare 'the future itself' to be an artwork, a SOCIAL SCULPTURE. What takes place at night on the stage of Kloppenburg's 'Artchive for the future', what K perceives 'in' and 'through' the sculpture ensemble as REALITIJD, as Real Time Opera, can be seen particularly well in the pastel drawings, the 'miraculous world of Kloppenburg'.

The "on the side notes", developed from earlier daily notes and delivery notes, become part of drawings on noteblocs, together with calculations, scribbles, thoughts and notes of things read or heard on the radio. This wordplay is not merely part of the image but it also forms a literary, linguistic and acoustic periphery, background noise, vox universalis, Plato's music of the spheres. Kloppenburg has provided his drawings with sound.


Lothar Baumgarten’s Britrail Pass with changed expiry date by K, 1972, FIUWAC

Studio Merowingerstrasse, Düsseldorf.

Mother Agatha Kloppenburg Kiljan
Mother Agatha Kloppenburg Kiljan

Pure Form architecture, based on the principle of the golden section, 1972

Instant Triptych, showing the Lauriergracht, 1977.

Hearing about the Beuys plan for a Free International University for Creativity, with (from left) Willi Bongard, Alfred Schmela, Hans van der Grinten, Johannes Cladders, Erwin Heerich and Joseph Beuys, Düsseldorf Academy, 1972

Atelier farmhouse in Ternaard Friesland, along the sea dike, 1972


Construction plan for atelier Ternaard, 1979


Real-time text on the wall in the Archive, 1980

With daughter Rahel Neeltje, Ternaard, 1985

K at the Archive entrance, 1982

At his studio Merowingerstrasse, 1977

Waldo Bien’s studio Lauriergracht 123 Amsterdam.1982

1980, 3rd of April: Birth of daughter Rahel Neeltje.

1980, 27th of November: Birth of Lukas, son of Waldo Bien and Ingrid Hanemann, Beuys-class. In the meantime a lot of Beuys students have become parents and the children of Kloppenburg, Bien, Piel, Droese, Sieverding, Knoebel, and others meet each other daily at the Waldorf school.

NOTE: (continuation of 1970) Waldo Bien moves from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam and is looking for a place to live and work, extremely difficult to find during those days. Visiting K, he presents the first man he runs into on the street in front of K's door with the question for a space to work. It happens to be the garage keeper Arie Ruska. He turns out to be the owner of a warehouse three doors down, on Lauriergracht 123. Bien rents the 4th and 5th floor, which are filled with hundreds of Volkswagen motors leaking oil. Bien will have to remove them himself, a job that will take a year to complete. For over a hundred years, the Firm Adema Schreurs, church organ builders, has been located on the floors below. Director Twoin Scheurs is extremely generous and offers support on all fronts, a high-principled cultural position of the company, which is continued even after it is bullied out of the warehouse by landlord A.R. in 1985, and kept alive since 2000 by the new owner Ronald van Bakel. The nearness of the ateliers causes an intense FlU working relation, in a surrounding that is new to Bien, Amsterdam. Bien gets acquainted with Eliane Gomperts, teacher on a Steinerian school, who becomes his new partner and the mother of three more sons; Mathijs Virgil, Niels Jonathan en Tijmen Benjamin. Furthermore, acquaintance is made with the geomorphologist Michiel Damen, whose support of the artists and FlU Amsterdam in word and deed deserves all praise. Also friendship and collaboration with cultural anthropologist/photographer Ton Maas. Over the following years Maas makes portraits of Kloppenburg, takes pictures of work being done in The Archive, Düsseldorf and Ternaard and takes care of the photographic registration of pastel drawings (F.l.U.archive, Ton Maas).

The 70xl00cm pastel production is now beginning to run at full speed. As usual K works during the night and is not going to bed before dawn. Sometimes he does not sleep at all for several days in a row. By an intentionally manipulated lack of sleep he balances on the edge of waking and sleep, in a trance of some sort or a no man's land (Niflheim, Nebelwelt), and enters a state of consciousness in which the drawing hand more or less reacts automatically to what it receives. He has managed to cultivate the waking state in such a manner that he now can do with extremely short periods of sleep, sometimes several seconds already suffice. Only his mother knows about the development in the attic, and sometimes brings up food or occasionally spends a cosy night there, sitting in an easy chair and covered with blankets, the bible study book on her knees.

1984, 12 September: First FELDPOST BRIEF, MITTEILUNG, betrifft K no. 1.

From Waldo Bien to the art collectors Frits and Agnes Becht. Bien describes in a continuous series of 16 'field letters' to "Becht and Becht" (no.16 dated November 10, 1984) Kloppenburg's oddities and rituals (Collection Frits and Agnes Becht NL), the complete series is referenced in the publication Tekenend; Drawing from Dutch artists from the Collection Becht, Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, NL, 1994.

1984, 8th of July: Death of K's mother, Agatha Kloppenburg-Kiljan. K makes a photo-series of her laid out body, and self portraits-in-sorrow (Collection Van der Grinten). He keeps on the house at 111 Lauriergracht which can now be transformed without any compromise according to his own non-conformist vision. It had always seemed to him that the division of the life of an artist into the professional (atelier) and the private (domestic ordered world) was completely unnatural. The complete circle of a universal artist's vision does not allow for such fracturing. NOTE: Bruges Belgium 1987. During a visit to the Stedelijk Museum we stand in front of a painting, The Judgement of King Cambyses (by Gerard  David, 1498). It is about an execution in which someone is stretched out on a table being skinned alive by judicial executors, where the faces of the onlookers show no emotion. K stares at it for a long time. He then says with deep emotion "You know, all my life I have felt exactly like that, like the man there on the table- as if the skin that is supposed to protect us from the bombardment of universal impressions has been stripped from me and I am unprotected and exposed".

NOTE: (continuation of 1980). In the same year Bien's mother visits her son in his atelier Lauriergracht 123, 4th floor, Amsterdam. During a clearing out operation of things from her house she has found the book about the Jordaan (see note 1965). Bien looks in the book for the nude model that had fascinated him 19 years earlier, as a young man, and for the first time reads the text that accompanies the photo of the artist and his model; "The painter Erik Bauknecht, at work in his atelier Lauriergracht 123, 4th floor". The paint flecks that are visible in the photos are now at Bien's feet, still visible, on the floor of his atelier and F.I.U. Amsterdam office. Kloppenburg makes the comment "some things are less accidental than people think".

1985: Summer : Exhibition Place Saint-Lambert Investigations, in Liège, Belgium. The show was curated by Laurent Jacob and Johan Muyle, Espace 251 Nord, with 37 international artists participating (among others Bien, but not K himself). This results in an intense collaboration with Espace 251 Nord, and frequent visits to the Liège-Maastricht area, making the acquaintance of Robert Garcet, and of his 'Eben Ezer', flintstonetower in Eben Emael, Belgium. (see Harald Szeemann, Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk, Kunsthaus Zürich 1983, Verlag Sauerländer). 

Research on metamorphosis of flintstones was conducted in the caves around Maastricht and Belgium. These so called caves are in reality interconnected underground marl pits, with miles of corridors, a place of initiation.

K, who is treated with respect by the Belgians ("un personage"), finds the contact with the circle of artists, and the easy going latin element of civilisation, a relief… It is a relaxed intellectual climate in which he immediately feels at home. At Bien's insistence he starts to re-consider his 'illegal' status and agrees to give a first presentation in public of his 'free-work' even though he is aware that in doing so he will disturb the peace and quite which has been essential for the biotope ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE, up to that point. An invitation follows from the chief curator Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Fodor, Tijmen van Grootheest, for his first large solo exhibition in December of that year.  K insists that all aspects of his work should be shown in a manner that would give as complete a view as possible. Design sketches follow (F.I.U.archive).

Dec 1985 -13 Jan 1986: K (Kloppenburg), is the title of his first (solo) exhibition in Museum Fodor, Amsterdam. Publication Fodor magazine, 4th year, vol. no 61, with K pastel as cover illustration and 15 pages of articles, richly illustrated, by Ben Haveman and Peter Heynen.

Ben Haveman, "THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF KLOPPENBURG" (on The Archive) there is an ambulance stretcher with wheels on which there is a bunch of branches. There is hardly any space to walk along the collection of furniture and bric-a-brac. The visitor could imagine himself in some marvellous city cavern from the beginning of the century, expecting at any moment the imploring of some tubercular beggar. On a hand written sticker I read 'You can remove yourself from the picture provided you can find yourself in the same incarnation again'. Kloppenburg conjures up one wonderful representation after the other. Often allegories, in which animals and mythological creatures play a role. Magnificent pastel drawings on wrapping paper reminiscent of Chagall. "I aim to start working without preconceptions, without all those concepts we have in our heads, I want to switch on all the unconscious motives I've had simmering for so long ... that is how my hand is gradually directed. It is no plagiarism of the optical reality though."


"...for years K has been focussing on examining geometrical shapes. With the help of the so called objective norm of the golden measure he has made a large number of abstract drawings and spatial figures. He describes his dealing with geometry as a sort of traffic island for intellectuality, a very efficient immune system for the 'absolute' reality. In the unremitting strife for 'absolute' reality, which in fact is unbearable for humankind, he experiences working with geometry, making calculations and equations, as a wonderful anaesthetic. . . It took years before he learned how to break through this efficient immune system. The birth of his children, in whose play comes to light a strongly uninhibited nature in relation to the absolute reality, helped to breakdown this geometrical immune system in his art bit by bit ... In the pastel drawings animals often play the leading part, but they seem to withdraw from the often too one-sided, human hierarchy, on which the excitement of most animal stories is based. These animals strike us though by their natural freedom; the self-evidence with which they express their individual existence. He holds the intelligence of animals in great esteem. K is averse to ready-made symbols or signs. He definitely does not wish to express a simple sequence of thinking-feeling-desiring with his animals. Much rather he would wish that his drawings produced music"...

HET PAROOL, 24th of December 1985, (with two pictures) by Jan Bart Klaster: SIGNS OF LIFE FROM NO MAN'S LAND, Stranger with own visual style in Museum Fodor: "A SIMPLY SENSATIONAL EXHIBITION" …"and again it appeared that reality has a strained relation with the expectation I had created. From the information supplied by insiders I had gathered he would be a somewhat grubby character. In his atelier at Lauriergracht in Amsterdam chaos would rule. Pictures that were shown to me spoke volumes in that respect; a strangely hooded grumpy man with a beard in the middle of a fantastic heap of rubble. And then he stands in front of me in person, more or less unexpectedly; a spruce, tall, almost elegant man in a dark suit, a beige raincoat over his arm; Mr. Kloppenburg."

NOTE: Kloppenburg is complimented by his neighbour, the garage keeper Arie Ruska, who is fifteen years younger than him; it will become clear during the course of the story why this is mentioned. After the 'spectacular' exhibition there is a regular rush on his pastels and Kloppenburg is continuously troubled by people at his home. He disconnects his doorbell and leaves the city for an extended period of time. The idea of lifting artworks out of their context and to scatter them around as individual pieces "only for the sake of money", is diametrically opposed to his concept and plans for the future. This is also the definite end of the pastel production; K does not want to become famous as a pastel artist, it is only part of a much bigger and in his opinion more important work, the ARTCHIVE FOR THE FUTURE. Instead of the pastel drawings he now focuses on the Volkswagen components that the neighbouring Volkswagen garage RUSKA puts at the side of the road as trash on a daily basis: car doors and windows, wings, rubber frames, etc. These now become image medium and sculpture.

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K’s children

K’s cat

Fam. foto Birth Rahel Neeltje Kloppenburg02
Fam. foto Birth Rahel Neeltje Kloppenburg

The Adema Schreurs church organ builders. 2nd from left: Toin Schreurs, Bien far right

K with lam Ternaard 198503
K with lamb Ternaard

Lauriergracht 123
Lauriergracht 123

Drawing 15.9.85

The painter Eric Bauknecht at work at his studio Lauriergracht 123, 4th floor,1960

Hare drawing 15.9.85

K and Ton Maas in the Archive, 1984

Night work, 1985

Portrait of his laid out mother, July the 9th, 1984

Sketch for the upcoming Fodor exhibit, 1985

Fodor Magazin November 1985


The judgement of King Cambyses, by Gerard David, 1498

Opening Fodor exhibit. At left;  Sipke Huismans. Dec 1985

705 A
Trash trail drawing, 1991