Guido Geelen, Zonder titel (SPH 89)/ Untitled (SPH 89), 1989

The Kröller-Müller Museum acquired two works by Geelen in the early 1990s. Untitled (SPH 89) is a monumental stack of monochrome grey balls and ‘diabolos’. Untitled (N.G.I.1991, R&S93602 and 8B.C.) is a wall of undulating clay sheets covered with shiny drops of glaze, black and white on one side, seductively colourful on the other.


In the late 1980s, ceramics was still considered a material for functional and decorative objects, such as flower pots, bowls and vases. The centuries-old craft of the potter in which innovation hardly plays a role. Within the visual arts, virtually nobody used the unruly, brittle and fragile material. At most it was used for making spatial sketches and preliminary studies for sculptures.

A place in modern art

Geelen anchors ceramics firmly within the visual arts. His working method touches on that of minimal artists such as Carl Andre and Donald Judd. The large sculptures in this presentation consist of rhythmically stacked individual elements. Volume, spatiality and the distribution of mass are central to the works. The green, brown, grey and pink drips of Untitled (N.G.I.1991, R&S93602 and 8B.C.) seem to be a reference to the canvases of abstract-expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.

Images: Guido Geelen, Untitled (SPH 89), 1989. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke