Extraordinary footage by Louis van Gasteren discovered in EYE’s collection

Film still from Mach N – a collaboration between filmmaker Louis van Gasteren, composer Misha Mengelberg and poet Simon Vinkenoog.

24 November 2015

Unique footage has recently turned up in  EYE’s collection of Bewogen beweging (Moving Movement), the legendary exhibition organized by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1961. The colour footage was made by Dutch filmmaker and visual artist Louis van Gasteren for an unfinished film project under the name Mach N. The Stedelijk Museum and EYE are currently working with van Gasteren to make the footage available.

Louis van Gasteren (93) – the colourful documentary filmmaker who captured the post-war trends in art, politics and society in his own inimitable way – is currently editing the rediscovered footage. The film material has been digitized and made available to van Gasteren by EYE.

Bewogen beweging, an exhibition curated by Pontus Hultén of the Moderna Museet Stockholm and others, gave the public a comprehensive experience of kinetic art, involving movement either produced by machines or by visitors setting the artworks in motion. Internationally renowned artists participated in the show, including Jean Tinguely, Dieter Roth, Alexander Calder and Richard Hamilton.

Colour footage by van Gasteren

The Stedelijk Museum already possessed footage of the exhibition by photographer and filmmaker Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990), but it was a black-and-white film without sound. Van Gasteren – ‘the seismographer of his time’ – also made a film of the exhibition, in colour and with sound. The installations and sculptures in Bewogen beweging provided a source of inspiration for van Gasteren’s own, unfinished film project Mach N, for which he collaborated with the improvising jazz pianist Misha Mengelberg and the poet Simon Vinkenoog.

The rediscovered footage will be shown for the first time in the Stedelijk Museum at the upcoming retrospective on Jean Tinguely (1 October 2016 -  5 March 2017).

Patricia Pisters (Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam), recently published a study on Louis van Gasteren with Amsterdam University Press: Filming for the Future. The Work of Louis van Gasteren.

EYE is about to restore van Gasteren’s experimental production Out of My Skull (1965, 16mm, in colour and black-and-white), shot in the turbulent 1960s in the US. Virtually all of van Gasteren’s work is included in EYE’s collection.