Sun-spark spraying*

*Zoro Feigl solo exhibition.

14 May to 11 September 2022

Things twist and turn in the world of Zoro Feigl. The artist shows us things that seem impossible – water drips upwards out of nowhere, while thousands of small gravity-defying  balls roll in every direction. In spring 2020, Feigl was about to present a large-scale solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam before the pandemic altered plans. Now, on Saturday 14 May 2022, Sun-spark spraying finally opens with a large number of new, playful and often overwhelming installations. This exhibition is the first time to see so many of the artist’s works in one museum, taking up half of the reopened building after its closure for a year and a half of renovation.

Museum director Anne de Haij is proud to celebrate the reopening of the museum with Feigl’s work. ‘It suits not only the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam but also the festive feeling of the reopening,’ she says. ‘After two pandemic years and a renovation that lasted a year and a half, we’re really looking forward to it.’ The title Sun-spark spraying comes from Herman Gorter’s 1889 epic poem May about a girl who falls in love with the young god Balder:
[…] around his high head fanned / The bushy hair like sun-spark spraying vent

Guest curator Ellis Kat says the exhibition shows that creativity and the urge to play are always paramount, yet at the same time the works deal with the vulnerability of life. ‘Feigl’s homemade machines rattle and can falter. It’s good that things change and nothing is forever; if juggling couldn’t go wrong, it wouldn’t be any fun to watch!’

Undulating floor
Feigl has made six installations, one for each gallery space. Entering Sun-spark spraying, visitors are confronted by a spinning mass of water, followed by ‘fireflies’ and an undulating floor, which visitors are invited to walk on. Upstairs, you come face to face with ‘singing metal pendulums’ as well as some smaller liquid works.

Moving paintings
One work builds on Conveyor, two ‘moving paintings’ acquired by the museum. The new version is three metres high and 15 metres long, with thick liquid dripping upwards. Also on show is Murmuration, an installation on the ceiling replicating a flock of birds flying overhead, shown and acquired by the museum in 2020.

A piece of the world on a pedestal
Feigl’s work appears huge and overwhelming yet also calm and relaxed. ‘You can call waves on the sea and a sunset a spectacle, but equally soothing,’ says the artist about this ambiguity. ‘It depends on you and your state of mind how you experience it. There’s always repetition in my work, and in that sense it’s minimalist and meditative.’ Feigl also focuses on things that already exist, adding that, ‘During the last lockdown I was able to look around more.’ He then brought these objects into the studio to experiment in order to ‘Put a piece of the world on a pedestal.’

‘Feigl starts with material experimentation,’ says Kat. ‘His work is ingenious and his open-mindedness bursts out of the installations, showing us that good art doesn’t have to be based on a complicated theme or concept.’ Feigl is inspired by, among others, ’80s television inventor MacGyver and the tinker duo Buurman & Buurman.

While his work has an affinity with other kinetic artists such as Jean Tinguely and Otto Piene, comparisons are not necessary, says Kat. ‘His raw installations are sometimes frightening and simultaneously calming; to me, that makes him unique.’

Book and LP
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication in which the installations come to life like a pop-up book. It will be a spatial and sculptural book, says Feigl. ‘Hopefully it will be just as playful and changeable as the work.’ The publication by nai010 publishers is a collaboration between the artist and the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, with texts by Zoro Feigl and curator Ellis Kat. An LP by Reinhard Vanbergen, inspired by Feigl’s work, will also be available.

With thanks to
Gemeente Schiedam, Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, Jaap Harten Fonds

Images: Zoro Feigl with new work in progress. Photograph: Aad Hoogendoorn