Carel Kneulman

'Agressie' (Ágression), 1970

Location: Atlas building, north side


Carel Kneulman is one of the founders of the 'Groep Amsterdam', along with Wessel Couzijn, Ben Guntenaar and Shinkichi Tajiri. Their abstract expressionist work is quite avantgardistic for its time. It does not always go down well with the public, that has trouble understanding it.

Kneulman's best known sculpture is the 'Lieverdje' ('The Darling'), located on the Spui in Amsterdam. During the nineteen sixties, members of the so-called Provo movement liked to gather around it and hold actions there. But Kneulman (1915 - 2008) was not exactly a darling. On the contrary, he was a man who did not avoid controversy. During World War 2 that characteristic of his understandably came to the fore. Therefore, 'Agressie' (1968) may be considered one of his most important works.

When the statue, weighing in at four tons, was installed in 1971, it actually provoked so much aggression among members of the TU/e community that Kneulman decided to provide a written explanation:
"Aggression is, in my view, the same as an unstoppable urge to grow. Aggressiveness will only create a formal space for man in which to live if it is underpinned by a philosophy. That philosophy must be based on a striving for selfrealization of everyone and for everyone. ... The lack of such a philosophy is visible in calamities like war (debate run out of control) and environmental pollution (technology run out of control)."

"The statue depicts the degeneration of the beautiful bird 'Agressie' into a destructive, vain and aggresive animal. It is an image of our present day situation of working and living: a pyramidal grave of thought. It is deliberately not a 'beautiful' sculpture. It is damaged and blackened by the consuming fire of vanity. The sculpture is vanity itself."

See also: Couzijn, Guntenaar, Tajiri,

Links Carel Kneulman
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