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The unparalleled beauty of the commonplace

Art is for me the ultimate form of recycling, crossover and transformation, says artist Huub Koch (45) from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As a visual artist he has been involved in painting, stagedesign, photography, silkscreen, collage, graphic and magazine design and new media. 

He has been having exhibitions in museums, libraries and galleries. Huub is now working as a senior webdesigner at the internet agency Netaspect and is therefore into a wide variety of designjobs, one of them is the making of illustrations for the Secretary Online website. 

Huub studied at the College of Fine Arts in Rotterdam and at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Offenbach Am Main. Before his studies he was working as a documentary photographer with a specialization in Dance Photography. The pictures he has made during those years are now in the collection of the Rotterdam Dance Academy. Next to this he photographed cityscapes. 


The unparalleled beauty of the commonplace is a theme in the works of Huub Koch that returns once and again. During the past 25 years he has been involved in all sorts of art forms, as well fine and applied arts. 'I have been searching the boundaries of these arts. Applied arts as design, graphic design and webdesign sometimes change into art. And of course fine art can serve an applied role as an illustration in a magazine.' 

A series of photographs of an old shut down lighter factory has been exhibited in the form of an installation. Huub explains: 'The photoworks were hanging in a darkened room, you could only see the pictures by the light of small bicyclelamps that were powered by batteries. You had to go, with an minershelmet on your head, through an old jenever distillery building to get to that room, also there it was dark as hell. The floors were open at some spots, so you had to climb over the joistings. By creating all this obstacles I re-created something of the atmosphere of the old lighting factory where I took the pictures. During the time of the exhibition I took a photograph of one of the visitors of the installation. By doing so I created another artwork.' 

Today he is working on a project which started in july on the internet. The project is called 'The Surface of Identity' and Huub tells us what it means: 'It's a project I start in the context of the Angostura Zum Foundation. That's a foundation, who stimulates artist to develop online activities. In the case of this project I am recycling old imagery which I will combine with new and old texts.' 


Huub has his own philosophy about art and the making of art. He tells us: 'Art is for me something else then reality. It re-creates the raw materials from reality. What makes art different from reality is the imagination. Imagination is made of form and style and by the concept which is developed inside the artwork.' 

The materials Huub uses differ a lot, and aren't very ordinairy. 'Illustrations from old magazines, books, posters that were teared off the walls in different cities of Europe or paper garbage from printshops, are part of his basic materials. When making collage he relies on this large archive he has collected over the years. The proces of creation can even sometimes take a year or more. The collage technique is also used in the illustrations he makes for the Secretary-online website. That's what I mean with crossover'. What you do in one medium returns in another. 

There are several isms in art which belong to Huub's preferences, like dada, surrealism, popart and conceptual art. Works from artists like Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell are an inspiration for Huub. But he also likes contemporary artists, like Martin Kippenberger and Jeff Koons. Huub has his own approach and style, still you can see influences of the mentioned artists if you like. Artists Huub personally knows, have influenced him too. 

The works of Huub Koch are truly modern and share something with dada, surrealism and popart. There is a lot of theory and philosophy behind all these isms. Also the works of Huub have there own story. This makes his works very special. But also without knowing these stories, his collages, photographs en graphic works remain very beautiful and above all fascinating. 

Interview by Anna van der Gaag

Anna van der Gaag is Former Editor of Secretary-Online She is now working as a journalist for The Metro Daily  [] .

Sinds 2005 is Huub Koch gestart met zijn eigen advies- en ontwerpbureau Zichtbare Zaken.

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