Sunday, 29 May 2016

Marjolijn van den Assem / Artonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud
La Tête bleue
pencil and colored chalk on paper
63 x 48 cm
Centre Georges Pompidou Paris

I am understood in ten years time (...)
then they will know my geysers,
see my ice mirrors,
they will have learned to detoxify my poisons,
my soul play will be brought to light.
Antonin Artaud in 'Umbilicus of the Underworld'/'L'Ombilic des Limbes' (1925)
(translation by Nothing But Good)

This incantation is hanging copied on my studio wall for years now.
Is it possible to express oneself fully by complete surrender to handwriting?
Artaud touched me by physically being part of a creation, the hand as a seismograph.
His ecstasy appealed to me, I understood.
It has impelled, paid off, it worked.

Meanwhile -his evidence within reach, but concealed- I found my own expression methods, sans gêne.
Guided by extensive identification with the subject.
The paper, cardboard as companion, hand in hand, bowel brought outwards, thought forward.
The direct simplicity of graphite as suggested by Artaud, became a paragon of perfection.
That's how it must be, let it be so, that's how he drew, orated and vomited, it is not wasted.

Overgeschreven hangt deze bezweringsformule al jarenlang aan mijn atelierwand.
Is het mogelijk om zich ten volle uit te drukken door totale overgave aan het handschrift?
Door het lijfelijk deel uitmaken van een creatie, de hand als seismograaf, bereikte Artaud mij.
Zijn vervoering sprak mij aan, ik verstond.
Het heeft voortgestuwd, vruchten afgeworpen, gewerkt.

Inmiddels -zijn bewijzen verhuld binnen handbereik- vond ik mijn eigen uitdrukkingsmethoden, sans gêne.
Verregaande identificatie met het onderwerp als leidraad.
Het papier, karton als kompaan, hand in hand, ingewand naar buiten gebracht, uitgedacht voorwaarts.
De rechtstreekse soberheid van grafiet door Artaud voorgespiegeld, werd toonbeeld van volkomenheid.
Zó moet het, laat het zo zijn, tekende, oreerde en vomeerde hij, het is niet verspild.

Marjolijn van den Assem, 2016

Marjolijn van den Assem (NL)
Saale - Revier(10)
Indian ink, pencil, graphite pencil on museum board
92 x 61 cm

Monday, 23 May 2016

Fik van Gestel / Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson
Northern River
oil on canvas
115,1 x 102 cm

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Pocket sized exuberance (tribute to Tom Thomson)

It was only last year that I, through Tom Liekens, was introduced to the work of Tom Thomson. His paintings surprised and overwhelmed me. It felt like I discovered a painting ancestor.
With an accurate clear view, the artist analyses the pristine Canadian natural environment and registers it with a juicy, smooth post-impressionist touch. While wandering through woods and canoeing on lakes he absorbs that environment with a greedy exuberance. He manages to capture and translate the changing atmospheric particulars and seasonal features with their own striking and bold color pictorially. Thomson paints on small wooden or cardboard panels that are easily stowed away in his luggage. Sometimes these sketches were then worked out on a larger scale in the studio.
Tom Thomson painted for just a few years, a century ago. He was an iconic figure, partly because of his early, mysterious death shortly before the age of 40. It could be presumed that the canoes in some of Peter Doig’s work refer to the enigmatic Tom Thomson.

Fik van Gestel, 2016

Fik van Gestel (BE)
De anatomie van energie
acrylic on canvas
250 x 250 cm

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Rob Moonen / John Heartfield

John Heartfield
Das tausendjährige Reich (House of Cards)

My first encounter with John Heartfield’s work was in december 1989 in Ellis Bierbar, an obscure brown café at the Skalitzerstrasse in Berlin. We went there when all other bars closed. The most popular drink was a traditional mezcal including worm.
Ellis Bierbar was a legendary place: it started in 1925 and was at that time already a free heaven and meeting point for gays, intellectuals, transvestites, artists, night workers and communists. 
The smokey interior was decorated with lamps from Hitlers Reichskanzlei. A very ugly wooden chandelier was said to be a gift from Joseph Goebbels in return for hospitality and the freedom to express his homosexual feelings in that same bar. Whether this was true is doubtful, but it was a well spread rumor.

The ambience showed small drawings of homoerotic nature dated around the 1930’s, glued on the wooden wall panels like wallpaper, covered with thick dark brown layers of nicotine.
There were also a few other prints, with a more political message. Somebody told me that it were copies of works made by Helmut Herzfelde who chose the pseudonym John Heartfield in 1916 in protest against the anti-British mood then prevailing in Germany.
Heartfield was a German dadaist who worked with George Grosz, Kurt Tucholsky, Berthold Brecht and many others. The prints stood out because they somehow reminded me of Richard Hamilton’s later pop art, but then with more guts and humor, attacking the nazi regime.

John Heartfield
Scenography for Berthold Brecht’s Die Mutter
Berliner Ensemble Berlin

Heartfelt studied in München and is the inventor of the photomontage. He worked in the field of graphic design, typography and scenography. He and his brother were the founders of the Malik Verlag in Berlin.
In 1917 he became a member of the KPD, the German Communist Party.
In 1933 he fled to Prague leaving Berlin and Nazi-Germany behind. In 1938 he managed to get to London. He never stopped to use his art as a political weapon and succeeded in becoming the most hated artist of the Third Reich. 
After World War II he came back to Leipzig and Berlin and lived until 1968 in the former DDR, designing stage sets for Berthold Brecht and others. In his stage sets he often used extremely complex projections.
Rob Moonen, 2016

Rob Moonen
Morgenland Abendland
contribution to 'Boom, Bubble & Blast', Motorenhalle Dresden

Rob Moonen (NL)
Scenography for Hans-Werner Kroesinger’s Stolpersteine Staatstheater
Berliner Festspiele Berlin