Han Koster. Born June 30, 1951 in Vlissingen and died there on September 8, 2018.

When I first met Han, in 1980, I was struck by his resistance to generally established standards. For him only authenticity and originality turned out to be important. His first artistic expressions, in drawings and a comic book, had an absurd character. Texts that he also wrote later could best be placed with the art direction Dadaism, where you could not grasp what the intention was and where all relationship between thought and its expression was removed, in a seemingly primitive form.

As an autodidact he looked for his examples in many art books. Such as about Japanese Posters, Chinese Designs, from old masters to modern Expressionists. Although Han initially drew figuratively with East Indian ink, such as Westhove castle near Domburg, he then alternated many working methods. Han turned out to be able to produce a very rich amount of works in the interplay of lines and colors, such as in collages, on canvas or cardboard and sometimes using sand. Han mainly used acrylic paint when painting. 

Inspired by a family member who traveled to the Far East, he also created large canvases with oriental-inspired signs. Cloths that later found destinations in Yoga and Reiki studios. 

In the period that Han mainly loved bright basic colors, his semi-figurative acrylic compositions were created in cheerful bright colors. These stood out in an exhibition he held in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India in the early 1990s. Han was also receptive to impressions, such as those gained from a trip through Mexico. Both Aztec and Maya influences can be recognized in his work of those years. His canvases hang in Mexican homes. But gingerbread cookies close to home could also inspire him to let his imagination run wild.

Over time his work evolved into a total surrender to abstract expressionism, where he surrendered with his brush to what could sprout from his own core, from his mood and emotions. This resulted in an avalanche of color compositions, sprouting from an abundant source. Han Koster used large canvases of approximately 1 m wide to 3 meters high for this. In his urge to express sometimes 2-sided editing. He was unstoppable in doing so. Examples of this could be seen when he hung up many painted strips of fabric, or painted and glued A-4s together in the former N.H church, the Wit Arjaentje, in Ovezande1). But he could also hang banners in moody white tones in the church of Hoedekenskerke1) to give shape to silence and repentance there.

The development in Han Koster's art did not stop at painting on canvases. He sometimes described it as literally and figuratively processing his youth and life. He used “family material”, for example, when painting on shirts or jackets in all shapes that were cut open. It inspired him to let his works float in the wind, preferably on high rattan sticks tied together, or hanging from clotheslines, on triangular stakes, draped or hanging from ropes. When he subscribed for exhibitions in art routes, he liked to be assigned an area, if possible, to fill it all in with his own work, flapping in the air. This took place in the Westhove park in Serooskerke Midden Walcheren, on a dyke near Dinteloord5) and at the exhibitions at home. He enthusiastically used his entire garden in Ovezande for that. This in addition to the paintings and other creations exhibited in-house, such as braids of rope and / or plastic. 

Han delivered newspapers in the outskirts of South Beveland for a long time. He appreciated the silence and solitude through which he experienced the awakening landscape of man and nature on his motorbike in the early morning. He was left with inspiration and a mass of rubber bands, with which the newspapers were wrapped. He managed to convert these into varied weaves. In addition, Han - by helping orcharders in clearing apple and pear trees - had access to remaining support sticks and pruned branches. Always passionate about working with what was available, the “newspaper tapes” made these excellent material for Han to manifest himself as a designer in the space. Examples of this are the compositions of stakes on the dike near Fort Ellewoutsdijk1) He sometimes surrounded his knotted creations with round and oval rings. These were set up or hung figuratively as “Dreamcatchers”. In addition to these outdoor arrangements, he spatially designed the inside of the fort in a casemate2) made available to him there. More and more his work took on a conceptual character. The physical nature of the work in space could be experienced and made sense. The fact that Han Koster's creative expressions were appreciated by the Cultural Council of Borsele6 became clear at the presentation of the Zeeland Refinery Cultuurprijs 2015, together with cabaret artist Katinka Polderman. 

In his further development, in which conceptual creation became his motive, he left working with materials behind, in order to focus more and more on the use of his own body and voice. Before that he joined a group of performers in Butoh3), called Konpaku ( 魂魄 ) . And as a voice performer in the band “Spons en Draad”.

That the urge to realize himself in a creative way has manifested itself as a common thread throughout his life, was most convincingly expressed when, in the last week of his life, he was cared for in the Hospice of Ter Reede in Vlissingen, practiced expressing his voice, coming from his innermost core. Waving to the audience, saying “It has been beautiful”, this was Han's last creation, the sound and image of which was recorded, as an ultimo performance, by my daughter Saskia. She had given him Reiki4) during his last period of illness and guided him to the end with me.


This marked the end of a very colorful and spiritual life. But not the end of his products, of which we want to show a selection in this website.

Loes Koster - van Dam


1) - village in the Zak van Zuid-Beveland, Zeeland

2) - former historical space for the residence of soldiers and / or storage place for military purposes.

3) - a Japanese movement theory

4) - Japanese Medicine

5) - North Brabant

6) - Municipality on South Beveland, Zeeland


Quotes from Han Koster:

- Self-taught:   indebted to what has been seen, heard, experienced.


- "Working on the Tast with Scarcity what lies ahead of the Pak."

- "Unknown with Next Step. Follow nose now and then Muzzles"