SERVAAS, Artist in distribution, Netherlands, 1950 - 2001
SERVAAS (1950-2001) was born in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, but lived and worked most of his life in Amsterdam. His first tapes date back in 1980, and the first sculptural installations were developed only a couple of years later. His work is quite particular as it does not only include images and sound but also pneumatics. Another characteristic of Servaas' working method was his insistence to leave his tapes unedited. The finished tape is a faithful reproduction, in duration and image, of the original action. For Servaas, the spontaneity of the moment, the directness of the unmanipulated, 'live' quality, contributes to the 'authenticity' of the end result. In that way the viewer becomes a witness to the construction, the climax and the sequence of events being exactly as they occurred during the recording. Servaas' work also includes elements of fantasy and irony in order to break through the information flow of commercial television. He forced an active involvement and provoked extreme reactions by deafening the viewer with ear-splitting noises, threatening him or by undermining the comfortable viewing position. All of the images were chosen because they provoked emotions in the artist. The visual acquires a physical, spatial form through the sound and pneumatics allowing the viewer to become part of the work. Servaas' position in the history of Dutch video art is unique. He did indeed use, like many of his colleagues, common elements from mass communication like film and television images, but, by adding a unique spatial component, his work gets a strong, personal note.