Residency period September – December 2018
Interview by Sophie Krier
Marcel Moonen is trained as an architect, he lives and works in Zurich. He was a few months an architect in residence at the Van Doesburghuis. Moonen’s stay consisted partly of doing research and analysis, reflection and presentations. He grouped the results of his work in a scrapbook titled Abstract: Reality [Language].
The project evolves during the makingMarcel started his residence without knowing exactly what he was going to do. He gradually studied the creative process and way of working of Theo Van Doesburg. ‘Being an architect, the work process usually start with: what is the plan, what is the trajectory and what will be the end result? The creative process – trying things out – is not part of thisprocess and does not get any attention.’
Monk lifeA stay at Van Doesburghuis is something that stuck with you. Moonen: ‘It was a kind of monastic life. You are in the house, very empty, very quiet. That is weird. A lot of people asked, do you stay alone in that house? And when someone visits you, something happens, something changes. I have stayed for four months, but it seems that I have been there for almost two years. I often think back about my stay, now a few months ago and reflect that the [work] actually doesn’t need to be that specific. It can be adjusted. Something can happen, you can do something with it.’
Pushing boundariesMarcel calls himself an architect/artist. ‘That comes closest to what I am engaged with. And it is what interests me most about Theo Van Doesburg – that he dealt with limits, very freely.’ Who Theo van Doesburg was, what did he aimed for, remains elusive. That is what Marcel fascinates. One of the outcomes of his stay is a diagram in which he has charted the various disciplines that Theo practiced, but also the movements in which he was involved.
Making room‘I read that Theo at the start of his careed, wanted to become an actor. I think he used that idea of theater as a system to expand the discipline in which he was active. So he could play different roles within it. (…) I also read that Theo stated ‘I want to make space now.’ It is one of his sayings in the time he wrote the Art Concret (1930) manifesto. ‘Marcel Moonen’s favorite spot in the house, is the space under the roof, next to the kitchen. ‘A room that is not that pleasant, especially when it is cold, it gets somewhat uncanny. It is a residual space that is created because the two volumes were placed on top of each other and were shifted. This shift is well experienced in that part of the kitchen, an unpredicted space.’
For more information: www.marcelmoonen.com. Marcel Moonen’s stay was made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL.
‘Theo is the mechanics and other movements.’
Scrapbook Van Doesburghuis, Marcel Moonen, 2019, p 88/326
‘When you arrive, your gaze is focused on the house; only after a month did I start looking at the neighborhood differently, when I was already completely influenced by the house. The house is abstract and designed with a premise idea. In Meudon you see things that just happen, places where buildings or building parts come together. A composition is created that you would not normally see like that.’ Abstract Meudon, Marcel Moonen, 2018