SLAVE PIANOS – Scholte Gestalte Proposal

Scholte Gestalte

A re-enactment of an investigation
A Cold Case / Chamber-Opera / Installation

On the 23rd of November 1994 Rob Scholte, the prolific “Dutch Andy Warhol”, and his wife Micky were victims of a car bombing outside his home in Amsterdam. Scholte was seriously injured and lost both his legs.

“The blast took away my voice. The only thing I said to her was this: ‘They finally got me,’” Scholte remembers. He had, he says, no specific enemy in mind.

In the weeks and months following the explosion Scholte and his wife, at first working independently of the police, began an elaborate, amateurish & obsessive investigation to uncover who had carried out the attack and, more importantly, why.

The explosive device had been a grenade, he said, and he was sure it had been meant for him. He added that the police now shared this view. “It’s about the corruption of the art world,” he told me.

Scholte Gestalte is a theatrical re-enactment of this investigation, written for actors, chamber choir, small ensemble, electronic signal processors & film projectors. The stage, to be designed and built by Slave Pianos, will be a detailed reconstruction of the intersection in central Amsterdam where the attack took place, the cast & musicians working amid the wreckage of the exploded car, a BMW, which Scholte himself had exhibited as an artwork in the months following the attack.

The proposed work draws musical material from two disparate sources: (a) Scholte’s early work as a musician on the record Above Suspicion by the early eighties post-punk rock band Suspect; and (b) the late choral writing of Carlo Gesualdo, the sixteenth century Italian aristocrat, murderer and, in Stravinsky’s memorable phraseology, “great, if emotionally disequilibrated, composer”.

“I don’t see how you survived,” I told Scholte upon my return. “There was an angel watching over us,” he said, without irony.

Scholte considered a wide array of potential perpetrators; two fellow artists, an art dealer, an art collector, a real-estate speculator, Japanese organized criminals, the West German secret police, one of his assistants, one of his ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends, a poet and an art critic. Despite careful and thorough examination all of these possibilities the crime remained unsolved.

He still seems not to understand the extent to which his success rankled his peers whose careers had failed, but was aware that Amsterdam is no safer now than anywhere else in Europe. “He put in a complete new security system,” says Colin Huizing, an assistant. “Rob is very alert.”

Scholte Getsalte will further consider the bombing and it’s perceived motivations, artistic, sexual, financial, professional, religious & political, in relation to the contemporaneous car bombing campaign in southern Italy that claimed it’s most famous victim, the magistrate Giovanni Falcone, in May 1992, and the protracted and equally inconclusive judicial investigations & prosecutions of Life-Senator and seven time Italian Prime-Minister Giulio Andreotti that began in the 1980s and ran until 2003.


SLAVE PIANOS have surely justified their motto, “Nothing Human is Alien to Us”. Co-founded in Australia in 1998, its members have made music, pulled hoaxes, divorced, married, and even given birth. Slave Pianos have taken hostages, grown flowers, kept pets, written books, volunteered as human guinea pigs for medical research, played cricket, held picnics, put on plays, saved lives, studied, committed arson, committed suicide, murdered, raped, pushed drugs, gone mad, formed a union, and found God. SLAVE PIANOS are Michael Stevenson, Danius Kesminas, Neil Kelly and Rohan Drape. Slave Pianos are represented by Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney.

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