Three Columns (1989)

George Rickey

George Rickey, Three Colunms

Three Columns (1989)

The Artwork

A few hundred meters apart, two kinetic sculptures by George Rickey stand in downtown Rotterdam.

Rickey was born in the United States. He came to Europe at an early age, where he learned Cubism in Paris in the late 1920s. Influenced by Alexander Calder, he started making mobiles. His introduction to Naum Gabo was also important to his work: Gabo’s Kinetic Construction (1920) was one of the first moving artworks. Combine that with Rickey’s appreciation for the ideas of De Stijl (especially those of Mondrian and Van Doesburg) and an idea emerges where his moving rectangles came from.

A lot of water flowed through the Maas River before the first Rickey was in place. In 1964, he was asked to design an alternative to the fountain on Hofplein. His twenty-meter-high construction was ultimately not executed because the fountain’s new foundation would be too expensive. Eventually, Rickey’s Two Turning Vertical Rectangles was placed to brighten the newly designed Binnenwegplein.

Three Columns is Rickey’s second sculpture for Rotterdam. It was a gift from the company Van Ommeren (now Vopak) to the municipality on the occasion of the firm’s 150th anniversary. In 1986, Rickey was approached by his old friend, art connoisseur and collector Prof. mr. P. Sanders to exchange views on the filling of three square steel frames above the entrance to the new building designed by architect Wim Quist for the Rotterdam Schouwburg. It turned out to be a task that took Rickey about 3 years to solve. When the Schouwburg was completed in 1989, Rickey’s broken, moving columns were installed in the open cube forms above the building’s entrance. Rickey once said that his works can be seen as choreographies. In that sense, too, they will feel at home on the theater’s facade. (DvT)

Jaar
1989
George Rickey

George Rickey

George Rickey, born in South Bend, Indiana (US) in 1907.
Died in Saint Paul, Minnesota on 17 July 2002.
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