Sef Peeters | Stedelijk Museum Breda


Zwaar als een vogel | Sef Peeters

Sef Peeters, Zwaar als een vogel,
Installation shot. Stedelijk Museum Breda 2020. Photos: Peter Cox & Marian Schutte

23 March 2020
by Nadine Visser


Sef Peeters
Zwaar als een Vogel


Stedelijk Museum Breda
15.02.2020 – 14.06.2020




Exhibition review

Zwaar als een Vogel

During the exhibition Zwaar als een vogel (‘Heavy as a bird’) by Sef Peeters, the visitor gets inside the head of the visual artist, who passed away in 2019. The exhibition is named after one of his earlier installations, Heavy as a bird, which addresses the separation between life and art. Is art life and is life art? These are central questions for the conceptual artist. In the exhibition, Sef questions who he is as an artist and what an artist even stands for. Is it someone who only exists in the art world? And if so, is that bad? For Sef, art needs to have a meaning outside of the art world, if not, it has no value. 

Commonly surreal

In his artworks, Sef plays with common objects. Tables, fences, stones; they are all present in the exhibition. However, these objects are everything but common. The bright blue colored stones on the floor, part of De Eeenbenige Dans (‘The One-Legged Dance’), become surreal. The music played with it, a quick step from the dance orchestra of Max Gregor makes the stylistic stones dynamic. The stones become dance, and thus the dance steps. In these kinds of ways, makes Sef common objects mesmerize. 

The most striking artwork in the room is Gestutte Wolk, a big painted cloud on the wall with diagonal bars standing out in the room. The flat becomes one with the three dimensional. This creates a playground between the exhibition space and the walls that delineate the exhibition. The awareness of space is through this artwork more present than ever.

Alienating words

Sef also likes to play with words and text. He tries to change the meaning of words by creating a different relationship between them. Or he tries to transfer the meaning better to the visitor. For example, he does this by making a work with only text and playing with this by adding texts to an image. His fascination with text is related to the confusion about his name. Is it Sjef? Is it Peters? The words relate to his identity, literal and symbolic. Sometimes, his text works seem poetry, sometimes a mathematical equation. But always designed to alienate and to let the visitor think about the meaning of the words. 

Who is Sef?

Sef Peeters (1947-2019) studied visual arts in Tilburg, Amsterdam, Maastricht and Krefeld (Germany). After that he lived and worked in Breda. He was part of the travelling group exhibition Personal Worlds (1978), with works of Bas Jan Ader, Pieter Laurens Mol and Moniek Toebosch. Many exhibitions followed, such as in Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen (Rotterdam) en Zentrum für Künstlerpublikatoren (Bremen). The exhibition Zwaar als een vogel was his last. 

In the exhibition, the visitor is invited to think about the meanings of the artworks. There is hardly any exhibition text found near the works. When the visitors want more information about the artworks, they can find it in the corresponding exhibition guide (designed by Berry van Gerven).  

Exhibition: Zwaar als een vogel
Artist: Sef Peeters
Venue: Stedelijk Museum Breda
Until: June 14, 2020 at

Website Sef Peeters
Read more on website Stedelijk Museum

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