Wim T. Schippers: “I enjoy doing things that nobody expects”

Wim T Schippers – Robert Jan de Boer

Biography

Name: Wim T. Schippers

Born: Groningen, 1942

Profession: programmer, visual artist, actor, writer

Roll of Honor: Lira Manuscript Prize (1983), BKVB Oeuvre Prize (2002), J. van Looy Prize (2005), Drs. P. trophy (2022)

We have agreed with Wim T. Schippers in Stopera in Amsterdam. There, in the late 1980s, he was allowed to decorate his own wedding hall together with two other artists. But because these days you can get married anywhere in the city, the other two halls have been closed. Wim’s was allowed to stay, albeit in an adapted form. Wim sees the hall in its current state for the first time and is not satisfied with it: “My wedding hall has been included in a larger context with other designers. In consultation with me, but not entirely to my taste. But maybe I can still talk about that.”

The wedding hall in its original design

Turntable

Turntable has remained from the original design. The reason why many couples want to get married here. Schippers thought it was strange that you always look at the wedding officiant while watching the bride and groom from behind. And then the photographer will go around it again. Then he came up with the idea that everything becomes visible to everyone if you spin them around. A simple but bright idea. “It’s still being asked for.”

Wim T, Schipperszaal now – NH

“I don’t really know what I mean by that myself”

wim t skippers, artist

peanut butter floor

“I like to make things,” Schippers says. “I don’t actually know what I mean by that myself. I like to make things that no one expects, but that I want to make. It’s fun that I can sell them again at some point.”

A good example of Schippers’ art is the now iconic ‘peanut butter floor’. He likes to turn the world upside down: “If everyone always had peanut butter spread on the floor and someone wanted to spread it on their bread at some point, you’d say: what does that mean. Who’s going to spread it on their bread. bread? ”

Making the peanut butter floor – RTV Rijnmond

Death

“You know you’re going to die, so why can’t you die right away? When you’re dead, you don’t even remember that you lived. Whatever it leads to, or what it’s good for, life, you might as well don’t say it. But living with that thought, that’s really what art does. You show things that are interesting or that don’t exist. Things that distract you from the thought that you’re going to die. That you don’t think about it all day need to think.”

naked

“If you make things, they don’t like it at all,” says Schippers. “But if you’re successful at it, they’ll tell you how to proceed.” This was certainly the case with the television programs that Schippers made for VPRO. “When I started, I couldn’t do anything about it. But we still did special things. I enjoyed sending out weird things and bugs.”

Schippers made a name for himself with the program Hoepla, which he developed together with a number of friends. They were irritated by the idea that young people only liked pop music and were not interested in anything else. Then we set up Hoepla and went to VPRO. They thought it was fine.” But the success was short-lived. A too-naked Phil Bloom on TV caused a furore, the likes of which had never been seen before. The broadcaster decided to pull the plug on the show.

Van Oekel

Years later, when others were in charge of VPRO, the TV station wanted another magazine like Hoepla. But Schippers had other thoughts about it, he wanted a show.

“Entertainment, it was very strange for VPRO,” says Schippers. It became the Fred Haché Show, an absurdist television program, followed by the Barend Servet Show and the Van Oekel Show. “That’s how it developed. I didn’t anticipate that or think in advance that I would like that.”

Fred Hache and Barend Servet – Anefo

low culture

Meanwhile, Schippers was still making visual art, but many didn’t even know it anymore. “It’s not very useful if you want to sell something or if you want to be famous.” At one point Stedelijk director De Wilde considered buying something from him. Schippers: “Then he wanted to know from me whether I actually still continued with visual arts. Otherwise, he didn’t find it so interesting.”

Schippers thought it was a strange thought: “If I was dead, wouldn’t all the previous stuff be so interesting? It was strange in those circles to do shallow entertainment. High and low culture. Later I got praise. So they thought it was actually art that I was making for television. Then it was the other way around, I thought that was exaggerated too.”

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