Lotti van der Gaag
'Vlerkhond' ('Punk Dog'), 1954
Location: Flux building
"Livinus van der Bundt said: 'Never be ashamed, even when you make sculptures with three nozes or five hands'. I thought, if even that is allowed, well then let's make a real splash. I made a sculpture with two nozes and a pair of eyes and a woman with tits and a willy", Lotti van der Gaag says in an interview with Vrij Nederland magazine in 1987.
And that's how Van der Gaag (1923 - 1999) begins her series of fantastic, fairylike sculptures. 'Laughing nightmares' a critic calls them. Van der Gaag makes dancing devils, moon creatures, witches and demons and gives them weird names like 'Spralbollen', 'Rifdriften', 'Optoprots', 'Balghol', 'Kreetwee' or this 'Vlerkhond' ('Punk Dog')..
Before leaving for Paris in 1950, Lotti van der Gaag studies at the Free Academy in The Hague. Manager Van der Bundt gives her the attic for a workplace and tasks her with making as many sculptures as she can. Van der Gaag makes fantasy figures right from the start. In Paris she is tutored by Zadkine and she lives in an old warehouse together with the frontmen of the Cobra movement, Appel and Corneille.
Van der Gaag enjoys instant success. In 1952 her work goes on display in the City Museum of Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum), and in 1954 in the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, mingled with Picasso and Giacometti. Still she never becomes as widely known as Corneille and Appel. Notably, Corneille does not think she belongs to Cobra, even though she always works in that style, also in her paintings. 'The Cobra Sculptor', as she is nicknamed, is all but forgotten.
That changes again when the City Museum of Amsterdam holds a solo exhibition in 1962 and when in 1965 the Municipal Museum of The Hague exhibits her combined painting and sculpting. After 1974, when she can no longer afford the expenses of bronze casting, Van der Gaag concentrates more on painting. Cobra expert Willemijn Stokvis recognizes Van der Gaag's importance in 2003: she includes her in her authoritative standard work on the movement.
Links Lotti van der Gaag: