Kurt’s Zimmer

An installation about trust.

What is trust? Kurt Tucholsky, could he still trust someone on the eve of the eruption of National Socialism in Germany? Confidence is timeless, must always be re-estimated. What do you say and what not, what can you say and what not? And against whom and who not?

Artis in residence

ZIN, gueststudio Vught, September 2005 – February 2006

Kurt’s Zimmer

mixed media installation, 380 x 380 x 296 cm, Kurt’s Zimmer Walz by Maarten van der Vleuten


Kurt's Zimmer | Karin van Pinxteren | photo by Peter Cox Eindhoven

Kurt = Kurt Tucholsky

Berlin 1890 – Gothenburg 1935

Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist,satirist and writer. Democrat, pacifist and a fierce opponent of National Socialism.

Artist in residence, september 2005

Tucholsky - Pyreneeënboek - org. 1927
the original 1927

It started with the copy of the Book on the Pyrenees by Kurt Tucholsky that I found in the second hand bookstore while preparing a roundtrip in the Pyrenees. I was suprised that it was so modern, while written in 1924. I recognize my way of observing 80 years later. His observations are still quite relevant, engagé and to the point. Although he describes his wonder at physical life, the ironical charge of hierarchical relations can be made out very well and applied to current situations.

The first day of my artist in residence I entered with Kurt’s Zimmer painting, to place it next to a small window. A possibility of freedom when open. In the meantime I found the original book Ein Pyrenaënbuch in Tel Aviv. The next six months were led by intuition. Models, paintings, objects appeard to culminate in a big installation called Kurt’s Zimmer.

Letter from the studio

‘Here, from the guest studio which is five kilometres, as the crow flies, from the National War Monument Kamp Vught, I can relate to the past. Physically the German nationalist ideology took root there in 1943-1944. It had already proved fatal to Tucholsky, who had been one of the first to see it rise in Germany. Adjoining the National Monument Kamp Vught, separated by just a wall, is Holland’s maximum security prison. Two monstrous institutions linked together. Visitors of the prison and of the monument use the same parking lot. It is a violent location.

The circular plan of Kurt’s Zimmer, the merry-go-round, the mirror hall and the bullfight arena from the book on the Pyrenees – they are all spaces in which action emanates from the centre. In the centre of the installation a light rotates, a viewfinder, a telescope, a spectator, a private eye. Friend and foe in one.

A waltz is repeated in a fixed loop and turns Kurt’s Zimmer into a giant musical box for 2.5 minutes. Everything keeps on repeating itself, there is no vanishing point. Which makes me think of El Lissitzky’s axonometric projection. Shape as a moment on an endless time line. Now, back to work again.’

(partly quoted, published in Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation)

Kurt’s Zimmer

The installation ‘Kurt’s Zimmer’ refers to the house of mirrors and an idle merry-go-round. Kurt’s Zimmer is a space of its own where several themes meet. The vanishing childhood happiness which is displaced by ‘knowledge’, the play that cannot be performed because there is no space for the dialogue: a column in the middle hides the other side. 

The circular plan of Kurt’s Zimmer, the merry-go-round, the mirror hall and the bullfight arena from the book on the Pyrenees of Kurt Tucholsky– they are all spaces in which action emanates from the centre. Here a light rotates, a viewfinder, a telescope, a spectator, a private eye. Friend and foe in one. It indicates that someone is present, but this person is never visible when you view the work. Also because of the column one can never see the opposite ellipse so there can always be one person standing over there. A waltz is repeated in a fixed loop and turns Kurt’s Zimmer every ten minutes into a giant musical box. Everything keeps on repeating itself, there is no vanishing point. 

It is not allowed to enter or occupy Kurt’s Zimmer, the space has to remain empty, has to belong to everyone. Looking through the ellipse shaped windows, the visitors frame each other, look at each other as individuals.

framing each other as individuals (photo Dirk Kreijkamp)
Kurt's Zimmer | Karin van Pinxteren | photo by Dirk Kreijkamp
Kurt's Zimmer Publikation | Karin van Pinxteren | painting
Kurt’s Zimmer Painting
Kurt's Zimmer Publikation - Karin van Pinxteren
spread Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation
Kurt's Zimmer Publikation | Karin van Pinxteren | sketch


naar recensie Brabants Dagblad, Gerrit van den Hoven
‘Findings’ by Freek Lomme
‘Artist and their keypieces’ by Walter van Teefelen
De Nederlandse Cacaofabriek, 2007
Kurt's Zimmer | Karin van Pinxteren | photo by Peter Cox Eindhoven
inside Kurt’s Zimmer with watch tower light in the middle (photo Peter Cox)

Kurt’s Zimmer Walz

installation music 2,5 min. produced by Maarten van der Vleuten.

7,5 minute of silence is followed by a walz of 2,5 minute, on and on

Mini CD – part of Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation – added in the cover

Kurt’s Zimmer print I & II

Sponsor project with two residence silkscreen prints

Sponsored by: Ambassade Bondsrepubliek Duitsland, ZIN, Communiteit Elousa, Uitgeverij L.J. Veen, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch, CBKV de Krabbedans, Jos Bosman, De Twee Snoeken, De Vaan MKB, De Nederlandse Cacaofabriek, Bureau Venhuizen, Erik van Eck Broekbakema, HilberinkBosch architecten, Marx & Steketee architecten, Joep Mol en Janneke Bierman, Jan Hermkes Architects, Tarra architectuur en stedenbouw, Havermans Preview, Parklaan Landschapsarchitecten, Oostveen Architectuur, Carla Bakker, Jac en Jeanne van Asten, Bouwmaat ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Culturele Salon Achter de Kan, Anne Vincent Dijkstra, Sandra Eijkman, Floor van Eck, Maurice Gerards, Mia Goes, Peter Paul en Liesbeth Geurts, Leidi Haaijer, Jan Hoskam, Sipke de Jong, Renato Kindt, Diet de Kock, Dirk Kreijkamp, Bas Lavrijssen en Puck van Rooij, Carro Lenselink, Gerrit en Jantine Lenselink, Bert Loerakker, Loxodrome, Nora van Marle, Meeuwissen Houthandel, Judith Mestriner, Els van Pinxteren en Wim Craamer, Marieke Rooijmans, Ad van Rosmalen en Esther de Vries, Micha Stegerwald, Margit Schüster, Tom Stams, TGM, Drukkerij Tielen, Studio Boot, Wijnen Architectuur en René de Wit.

Silkscreen by Margriet Thissen at Grafisch Atelier Daglicht, 2006

Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation

click on the image to see the book

The publication Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation was published in 2007. I made this book after the artist in residence period.

In Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation I asked four writers to contribute to the publication that follows my working period in the guest studio of ZIN in Vught September 2005 – March 2006, a period around ‘A Pyrenees book by Kurt Tucholsky, which resulted in the theme ‘trust’. Without restrictions, without censorship, without discussion what is being delivered, because it is all about trust, I asked them about their fascinations, based on an experience by them visiting the studio during the work period, free to write what they want.


Karin van Pinxteren: Letter from the Studio and images

Manon Berendse: correspondence K and K

Manon Berendse: Lighthouse

Frank Eerhart: the turn

Ulco Mes: Kurt’s Zimmer as an existential mental image

Chris Manders: A Border

Maarten van der Vleuten: Kurt’s Zimmer Walz on mini CD

18 x 23 cm, 112 pages

design by Marc Heijmans, Breda

Dutch/ Englisch/ German

ISBN/ EAN 978-90-808941-3-6 

supported by Cultuurfonds ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Het Tijlfonds / Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.