Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Monday, 28 May 2007

Passion and creativity

Today was the last day of the exhibition in Amsterdam - ‘Light as guidance’ - about the life and works of my mothers’ father in the first half of the last century. Frits Lensvelt (1886-1945, he passed away a month before I was born) was a designer for the printing press, theatre, interiors and industry. It was the time that electricity was broadly introduced into our cities. So he designed, e.g. the lighting for the Council Chambers of the Amsterdam City Hall (today the conference room of The Grand Amsterdam, Sofitel Demeure Hotel), and introduced lighting with special effects on stage in the Dutch theatre that was at the time in transition from ‘representing’ reality to ‘imagining’ reality.

I walk through the exhibition admiring his drawings for a range of Shakespeare plays, models for the backstage of Goethe’s Faust, Beaumarchais’ Le Marriage de Figaro. Designs of interiors of the houses of people, I had visited as a young boy. The decoration of the streets in Amsterdam, which he designed for the occasion of the marriage of Princess (later our Queen) Juliana and Prince Bernhard. Books he illustrated and which I saw on the bookshelves of my parental home. I always have admired his fine style of drawing. As a kid I often dreamed I could draw like him.

His time was the beginning of the industrial revolution with all its changes, challenges and innovations. The fine arts in those days broke away from many conventions. We now know the turning points brought about by e.g. Strawinsky, Mondriaan, Mies von der Rohe. But how much do you see, how much vision do you need, when you are part of the change? Wandering through the exhibition and looking at the products of my grand father’s creativity and imagination, I realize that what we need for the big changes in our time is a similar creativity. Sustainability needs new functionalities, new forms. The Art of Positive Change is a quest for passion and creativity.

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