Jan van Goethem
Glass application 1972 -1974
Location: Gemini building
At first Jan van Goethem designs a colourful flying carpet for the department of Mechanical Engineering, as also aeroplane construction technology is taught there. But instead of this 'motley bunch of colours' he decides to incorporate toy aeroplanes of folded glass into his sculpture. His study of architecture proves quite useful when creating large spatial works.
During the nineteen seventies there was much debate among artists in the Netherlands about the so-called 1 % arrangement. This regulation stipulated that 1 % of the budget for construction of governmental buildings (at that time that included university buildings) was to be spent on art. Artists felt as if they just came in as an afterthought. The building was ready, 'now we still need a sculpture to go into it'. That was usually the beginning point of collaboration between architects and artists. This work by Jan van Goethem however is one of the most successful examples.
"Beside studying at the Academy of Architecture at Tilburg I always continued to draw. That was my great passion. I also decided to study architecture because it was closely related to drawing. But as an architect you actually don't have that much freedom, and I'm not that interested in the technical aspects of building. However, in the visual arts I can fully express myself." That's how Jan van Goethem (1930) explains why he became an artist in the early nineteen sixties.
Van Goethem makes paintings, gouaches and glass sculptures. The glass sculpture which he makes for TU/e in 1974 is the first in a long series. He draws inspiration from two examples: the glass covering of St. Lazare railway station in Paris and the application by the painter Henry Matisse in the chapel of St. Paul de Vence.
He goes on to design glass applications for the Ministry of the Interior, the Dapperbuurt Quarter in Amsterdam (into this design he also interweaves light) and Utrecht University (a glass wall construction).
For Jan van Goethem art and architecture are essentially about design and construction, about drawing boundaries and making connections. That is why he always applies geometrical forms, also in his graphic work. The design he makes for TU/e by the way is not just a personal breakthrough for himself, but also is a stimulus for other (glass) artists. Glass art had gone out of fashion in the Netherlands until the revival triggered by Van Goethem.
The TU/e graphic art collection also includes some works by Jan van Goethem, which may be borrowed by university employees.
Links Jan van Goethem: