Ferns and Mudpool, Waiotapu

Ferns and Mudpool, Waiotapu

SCHOON, Theo, 1915-1985
Ferns and Mudpool, Waiotapu
Colour photograph
400 x 400mm

The Artist

Schoon had studied only briefly at the Rotterdam Art Academy and Canterbury College School of Art, before beginning his own journey of intrepid exploration of artistic media. Throughout 45 years of living and working in Australia and New Zealand, he experimented with ceramics, photography, painting, sculpture, drawing and carving jade and gourds. Schoon had a fractured youth, living in both Holland and Indonesia before World War II precipitated his immigration at the age of 24. He left his home of Java in 1939 and arrived with his family in Christchurch as the war began. Dutch Indonesia came to an end with the Japanese invasion in 1942, and Schoon never returned, but his early exposure to Indonesian culture and religion, particularly Buddhism, was a formative experience. As his friend, psychologist John Money observed, Schoon was expert in Balinese dance, and could perfectly replicate the stylised movements with his upper body and arms. Figuration in Schoon’s images, Money believed, was always directed towards conveying the movement of a body responding to music. While the psychedelic colours and syncopated rhythms of this print do dance across the page evoking the energy of the explosion of youth culture and pop music in the 1960s, Theo Schoon’s principal interest here is in developing new patterns from the ancient form of the Manaia. In 1960, he had studied with the Ngati Porou carver Pine Taiapa, who had begun publishing on the art of adzing in Te Ao Hou, the Māori magazine.

Other works by this artist

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