Pieter Slagboom

5 January 1982 - 23 January 1982
Opening Reception 5 January 1982 8pm


1. Gallery Relocation

Mercer Union has relocated at 333 Adelaide Street West, at the corner of Peter Street in downtown Toronto. The new gallery, which occupies the entire fifth floor of the building, will open to the public January 5th, 1982, following a month of renovations to the space.

2. Exhibition

Pieter Slagboom
Sculpture January 5 – 23, 1982

Visiting Dutch artist Pieter Slagboom will exhibit a sculptural installation at Mercer Union, January 5th through 23rd, 1982.

Lisa Balfour Bowen
Toronto Star, January 1982

A totally different installation on view until Jan. 23 is a serenely formal sculptural display directly related to Mercer Union’s new space at 333 Adelaide St, W.

Entering the fifth-floor gallery, the visitor may at first be disappointed by Dutch artist Pieter Slagboom’s simple, flat 12-foot partition-like sculpture painted pale blue on one side and bright yellow ochre on the other.

Invited to Toronto to create this tailor-made installation for Mercer Union, Slagboom, 26, is a sculpture graduate from the University of Breda in Holland. Previously he has worked with construction materials in the flat landscape of his country.

Slagboom’s installation, his first “interior” show, is not for sale because it is uniquely integrated with the gallery space. However, Slagboom is selling four sets of four minimal prints-in editions of 30 – for only $200.

His installation consists of two similar horizontal wooden structures which relate in color and height to several 12-inch-wide horizontal bands applied with ordinary house paint on each gallery wall.

His art is hard to understand until the viewer has reached the centre of Mercer’s almost symmetrical gallery where it is then possible to get the intuitive impact of what this rigorous young artist is doing. At that point, it is possible to figure out that Slagboom is relating his wooden sculptural forms to the painted bands on the walls as well as to two counterbalancing rectangular shapes painted on the floor in the centre of the gallery.

Although Slagboom’s conception is the most carefully balanced of the four installations under review, some viewers will undoubtedly find it shallow and boring. But if time is taken to examine this pure, uncluttered installation – as well as the slide presentation of Slagboom’s outdoor creations – it will appear that his works are, related to Egyptian pyramids and prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge.

At the same time, Slagboom’s “soft blue; hard yellow hard blue, soft yellow” color scheme is uniquely his own, even though some of his forms such as tiny squares or large rectangular panels recall work by the young Yves Gaucher and Guido Molinari.