Rembrandthuis strangely illuminated during Museumnacht

Kelvin Pater, graduate student at the Design & Technology study programme, has been asked during his studues to make a lighting design for the facade of the Rembrandthuis, opposite the Academy of Theatre and Dancel for Museumnacht.

With his installation he hopes in spectacular fashion to entice Museumnacht visitors inside. “My design is an extreme example of the use of chiaroscuro

What was the main source of inspiration for your design?

Rembrandt experimented extensively with the use of light and dark or chiaroscuro in his paintings. In Rembrandt’s work, it’s not often clear where the light source is. That was an important source of inspiration for me. When you look at the façade illuminated by my lighting design, you have no idea where the light is coming from. A lamp on the new extension of the Rembrandthuis shines during the museumnacht on the roof terrace of de Theaterschool where a tripod with mirrors has been erected. The mirrors reflect bright beams of light onto the Rembrandthuis. You can regard this as an extreme example of the use of chiaroscuro.  

For your concept you looked into what characterizes the Rembrandthuis. What was your point of departure? 
In his portraits Rembrandt searched for the character behind the sitter. It gave me the idea of investigating the characteristic features of the Rembrandthuis. In several paintings Rembrandt used tints of green and orange together with chiaroscuro to achieve more depth and contrast. The shutters of the Rembrandthuis are green on the outside and orange on the inside. I wanted to use this similarity in my composition. The green and orange colour of the shutters has an effect on what is in between, making it come to the fore. The spectator focuses on the dark windows and is drawn inside as it were.
You could even link the use of green and orange in Rembrandt’s work with the 3D glasses of today. Maybe Rembrandt was well ahead of his time! 

Do you think it’s important that the viewer is aware of the underlying theoretical basis?
Personally, I dislike designs which require you to read three pages of text before you can understand them. My fellow students of the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming and the  Reinwardtacademie are working on an exciting installation in Rembrandt’s studio. With my work outside I’m trying to persuade people to enter the building. If you’re a Museumnacht visitor with no special interest in art other than you like what you see and want to go inside, I’ll be more than satisfied! You can also interpret the light beams as an enormous arrow pointing to the house.

With your design you establish a clear link between us and our opposite neighbours. Is that a conscious choice?
Historically seen, Rembrandt was one of the first mentors, someone who trained students. My design connects the Theaterschool with the Rembrandthuis. He’s  important to me and could also serve as example to others who study or want to study art.

How was your collaboration with colleagues from other faculties?
Although we’re all busy with our designs independently, we do have a weekly get-together. That way we keep in sync. Everyone is following a different track  but all these tracks run parallel to one another.

What is the most important moment for you during this design process?

The presentation of my design during the Museumnacht will be the most important moment; it shows ultimately what the design process was about. I hope that spectators will reflect on my design and start a discussion that leads to new ideas. I’m curious as to what visions other people have.
By exploring Rembrandt’s work in depth, I’ve also done quite a bit of self-investigation.