Out of Focus
Before the summer vacation of 2021, preparatory work began for the new building of the Annie M.G. Schmidt School on Jacob de Graefflaan. Children, teachers and school supplies moved to a change location. Because this public elementary school values art and culture, all works of art in and around the school were removed from their walls and pedestals and stored as a precaution. This included the tile tableau that artist Peter Harskamp had created in the late 1980s especially for the school's then-expansion. On the end wall of the extension, he applied a fresh orange-yellow relief of a horse threatening to throw off its rider. The sun high in the sky witnesses the tumble. This relief had been damaged over the years. In consultation with the artist, it will be restored and given a place in the new building. It is expected that the school can start in the new building after the summer of 2023. Like the students, the works of art will then also return.
h. 200 cm
Jacob de Graefflaan, Den Haag
52.087591737214, 4.2819290759186 View on map
Riding is more difficult and dangerous than it looks. That's the lesson the children learn as they make their way to the classroom each day through the entrance gate and along the side wall of their primary school in the Statenkwartier district. There, they can see a ceramic wall relief, about two metres high, of a rider being thrown from his ferocious horse. The image is executed in soft yellow and soothing ochre hues, but the dynamism of the event is no less. The lesson is clear: forewarned is forearmed.
Peter Harskamp has accentuated the action with baroque accents. For instance, the horse's strength is reinforced by the disproportionate parts of his hips, while the man's tumble is given extra momentum by the hands and legs sticking up in the air. Other notable details are the horse's small snorting head and the skinny horse's legs, which are braced to reinforce the movement.
Harskamp completed the commission in 1986. At that time, the painter and sculptor was still at the beginning of his artistic career. In the years that followed, he built up a respectable oeuvre. In 2005, his first book was published: 'Peter Harskamp en het beteil van de tijd' (Peter Harskamp and the taming of time) with an overview of his work from 1990 onwards.
In many of his paintings and (bronze) sculptures, Harskamp recreates man as a monumental being. His human figures like to indulge in daydreams. They seek the refreshing rest and cleansing of the bathing ritual or are completely absorbed in the experience of silence. The people Harskamp depicts are often naive, vulnerable and unworldly.