‘We quickly found out that Joop Kruip’s art is still very much alive here’
By Henri Walterbos
LICHTENVOORDE – If you want to create an exhibition with a group of visual artists, all raised in East Gelre, with your new Stichting Kunstlokaal Sam from Lichtenvoorde in the former Pastoor van Ars school, you will be presented in ELNA and Groenlose Gids at the beginning of May and suddenly you receive History suddenly takes a very special turn because of this article. In the school’s auditorium, Jan Willem Kolkman and Daan Wopereis sit on the worn furniture that has been left behind, overlooking an imposing and imposing mural by the late artist Joop Kruip. Lieneke Hulshof also listens and talks on the phone. The three initiators behind the foundation.
Jan Willem Kolkman: “It started in January this year, when we knocked on the door of the municipality, because we wanted to organize an exhibition with a group of young artists in the vacant Pastoor van Arsschool. The municipality was happy about our inquiry, because this building has been on the list to be demolished longer than originally thought. They are still developing this area, which is also adjacent to the cross track. Because school is back in session, vandalism is less likely. Once we got the key, the neighborhood was informed and we had artists, it all started to run a bit. When Teun Wassink, former headmaster of the school, saw Daan Wopereis and me in an article about the exhibition in ELNA and Groenlose Gids, the ball started rolling. We stood in front of a wall in the auditorium, which was probably painted for one of the last group of 8 evenings at the school, with a marquee with ‘Bonteavond’ over it. “Teun thought he knew that behind the plasterboard wall in question once lay a work of art made on the wall by Joop Kruip. He tipped us off to see if this was indeed the case. We had never heard of this before but were immediately curious. Daan quickly said ‘we won’t wait any longer. We tap that whole wall there before. I want to know what’s behind it.’”
Dan nods. “I was here with my brother, one of the artists who also participates in that exhibition. We sat here on the couch and talked about it. I happened to have tools in the car. Then I grabbed it and we got down to business. It was a gamble of course, but I thought ‘let’s start in the middle, we can’t go back’. I hit the hammer through the drywall and immediately saw that some colors were visible. So we decided to remove the entire wall inside. With about three people, we carefully removed the entire wall before and this is what this mural looked like.”
The ‘demolitionists’ had no idea what they would find. They were very surprised to discover the hidden and almost demolished artwork of the nationally recognized Lichtenvoorde artist, Joop Kruip, who died in 2016. “We thought it might be a mosaic, because Joop made many mosaic works. So it turned out to be a decent sized mural. Not just one square meter. It was a nice surprise,” Daan experienced.
However, there was a lack of information about and the story behind the artwork. “At the beginning of the year there was still an exhibition of works by Joop Kruip in the Koppelkerk in Bredevoort, and three years ago six mosaic works by Joop Kruip were restored and restored in the former Ludgerus school in Lichtenvoorde, which is now part of new IEKC (Integral Educational Child Center, HW) the yellow park in Lichtenvoorde,” says Jan Willem. “We soon found out that Joop Kruip’s art is still very much alive here and that he has made it into art in many places.” “One of the artists delved into a book about Joop Kruip that was sold at that exhibition,” continues Daan. “It contained a small sketch of this mural. However, no description. But therefore we know for sure that it is a real Joop Kruip.”
Many individual works of art in themselves
The mural is a collection of many separate parts, works of art in themselves. The artists are already letting their imagination run wild. “You see young people playing on a boat or ark. It is interdisciplinary in relation to art, music and play. From a poetic point of view, I think it’s so beautiful that you get the key to a building where we can make art and that there’s still art hidden somewhere in the walls. It’s really something.”
“What I think is special is that if you do a little research into Joop’s work, you will see that he made several mosaics at the beginning of his career and that he really started working with material in the stone, such as .eg Ludgerus School,” says Lieneke. “Later, when he worked more from home because he had a family, he started painting more and doing more independent work. This work is somewhere in between. So it’s on a wall, but not a mosaic. A mural. We found in the book about Joop Kruip that this painting is from 1966. The nice thing is that Joop studied at AKI in Enschede, the current AKI ArtEZ University of the Arts. Joop is from 1935. Then he studied there after the war. I think it is very special that someone from Lichtenvoorde chooses to go to the art academy in that period. It was a completely different time than now. And that he really made a career as an artist. Still special. Dorian Temming, who will also exhibit here, attended same school, but decades later. It shows that the exhibition we are doing now also has a connection to him. It is such a shame that he is no longer alive, because you are so curious about what it must have been like for him at that time. And it also shows, if you look at his life and work, that when you ha r busy as an artist in East Gelre or in the Achterhoek, it does not mean that you cannot do national or international things. Joop has created works in Utrecht, Haarlem, and sold works throughout the Netherlands. Many artists who take part in our exhibition follow roughly the same path. A choice about artistry certainly does not always mean that you have to go to the Randstaden, or that you have to be born there.”
The next step the young artists take to gather information about the artwork takes them to the aforementioned Teun Wassink. “I was a temporary worker there in the years ’83/’84. Ton Otten was the headmaster at the time. The last years of the school, until it closed, I was the director there for a while in combination with the Josefskolen, which had to merge to go to Den Gule Park. There were some mosaics in the Ludgerus School, which have been replaced. That’s how I got in touch with Minnie Kruip, Joop’s widow. She then told me that Joop had also done something in the Pastoor van Arsschool.” Wassink does not dare to say why the artwork disappeared behind plasterboard. “I think the drywall has been there for a long time. I think that happened during the period when Wiesje Alewijns was director. I do not know why.”
It would be nice if it could be preserved somehow, we conclude. “Then you have to find a new place for it, but that’s a question that comes to mind later,” says Jan Willem. “At least you can now have a talk with the municipality about it.”
The mural will be part of the artists’ exhibition for the next 4 weekends. Jan Willem: “We might add a few works of art by Joop. Minnie has invited us to visit Joop’s former studio before the opening, we are really looking forward to that. It’s nice to have the new generation at the exhibition. This way you can show that if you think it’s a wonderful thing to do, then this is just one way you can go. Also in this region.” Joop Kruip is also a great source of inspiration after his death, that is clear. Then you are a very big one.
The exhibition called ‘Ground’ is an initiative of the Kunstlokaal Sam foundation. The opening of the exhibition takes place on September 16 at 19.00 in the former Pastoor van Arsschool at Oude Aaltenseweg 28 in Lichtenvoorde. After the opening, the exhibition can be visited free of charge every Saturday and Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm until 9 October. For more information: www.kunstlokaalsam.nl.