Servaas Schoone   °1950 2001   (NL)

Servaas Schoone (1950-2001) was a visual artist active in Hoorn. He gained international recognition for his video work but mostly through his Int. Fi$h trade SERVAAS & Sons, Holland. As an artist, he was self-taught and once said, "Everything I would have learned in an academy, I don't need to unlearn now."

He began with painting but rapidly traversed the "art history" in his unique way. His early work was displayed at the 'Boterhal' in Hoorn, where a critic remarked that we would hear much more from Servaas.

A notable characteristic of Servaas was that once he achieved success with his work, he quickly grew tired of it and switched to a different artistic direction. He transitioned from painting to video and later to video installations. His video work gained international recognition through Monte Video (now LIMA) and was characterized by simplicity, dynamism, and humor. For example, 'Watercolors,' which didn't involve a video camera, and 'Fish from Holland,' a can of white beans in tomato sauce with a poorly drawn shark and the sound of the "Jaws" trailer in the background. Eventually, Servaas found the video monitor too limiting for his ideas and started experimenting with video installations. He converted sound or image signals into compressed air, which in turn moved feathers, steel sculptures, or even the spectators themselves. The minimalist installation 'Pfft' gained widespread recognition and is a fine example of the simplicity of his work. 'Who is Afraid of Video' (acquired by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) is a video installation that criticizes people's passive viewing behavior. Shocking television images trigger a whip, driven by compressed air, which lashes out wildly and can literally strike the audience.

In the 1980s, several artists established businesses as a form of art known as 'Business Art,' where the business itself was considered part of the artistic concept. Jeff Koons worked on Wallstreet, Res Ingold started 'Ingold Airlines,' and Aldo Spoldi founded the 'Banca di Oklahoma.' Similarly, Servaas, being fond of fish, established a fish company: Int. Fi$h trade Servaas & Sons. He introduced numerous fish-related products, such as canned fish scent in various sizes, which were sold in stacks to museums and individuals. Galleries that exhibited his work were considered part of Servaas's franchise or branches. He also commercialized industrially-produced products like 'Eau de Poisson' fish perfume and 'Fish beer.' He even sold fresh herring under the banner of 'Art is what you eat' at the largest art fair in Europe in Cologne. His work generated considerable controversy and amusement, and he had a knack for leveraging media attention.

Servaas taught at the ArtEZ art academy in Arnhem and nurtured his students to become enterprising artists. He initiated the BAS-project (Business Art Stageplan), where artists interned at various businesses, from bakeries to hair salons. This dual-purpose approach allowed companies to view their products differently through the artist's perspective, while students gained insight into business management. His social engagement led to the establishment of the 'Environment Art Prize,' where companies like Mazda received recognition for developing energy-efficient cars. In collaboration with several prisons, he developed the NPI (New Positive Initiative) program to guide prisoners toward a new life after their detention.

In the early 1990s, Servaas obtained the artistic ownership rights to all the world's seas, effectively elevating the sea to an artwork. With the campaign 'THE SEA CRIES!' he brought attention to the often deplorable condition of the sea and allowed people to support the cause by purchasing a part of the sea.

In March 2001, Servaas passed away. After a respectful pause, his son Wessel continued the company 'Int. Fi$h trade SERVAAS & Sons.' He represents the "Sons" (Zn.) in the company name and carries on his father Servaas's values into 2023.


Expositions (selection)

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Keulen
Fine Art Museum, Fukui, Japan

Museum Folkwang, Essen, Duitsland
Western Front, Vancouver

Torch Gallery, Amsterdam
documenta, Kassel
750 Jahr Berlin, Berlijn
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
SCAN, in Spiral, Tokyo
Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Los Angeles

Gemeente Museum Arnhem, Arnhem
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Keulen Retrospectief Videosculpturen 1963-1988
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlijn
Museum Folkwang, Essen
Stadtische Galerie, Saarbrücken

Museum Fodor, Amsterdam
For Real Now, Hoorn
Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn Servaas. Snoeken
Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Museum het Pinsenhof, Delft
Kunstverein, Hamburg

Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Museum of Modern Art, Taipei, Taiwan
Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea, Termoli
P.P.O.W., Broadway, New York
Double Dutch, Sala Uno, Rome
Forum, Rome
Imago, Porto, Siviglia, deelname met: I am Stuck Between The Millstones (1989)[6]
La Verreina, Barcelona
Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf

Groninger Museum, Groningen: Business Art Business[7]
Hara Museum, Tokyo
Galerie de la Tour, Brazilië
Wassermann, Monaco, Keulen
Luciano Inga Pin, Milaan
Robert Bermann, Los Angeles

Art Cologne, Keulen
Kindermuseum, Wenen

IMPACT, Utrecht
Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Blueprints for a green future
'De keuze van Jan Linders', in De Boterhal - Kunstenaarsvereniging Hoorn & Omstreken - te Hoorn

Las Palmas, Rotterdam, Manifestatie The Art of survival[8]

Art Kitchen Gallery, Amsterdam, INT. ƒI$H-HANDEL SERVAAS & Zn.®