Saturday, 23 September 2017

Klaus Dauven / Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly
57,1 x  72,4 cm (22 1/2 x 28 1/2 in) 
ink on paper
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford US

When I first saw Ellsworth Kelly’s plant drawings, I was very surprised. I only knew his big colourful paintings and they weren’t that interesting for me as a draughtsman. But the simplicity, elegance and clearness of these black and white drawings filled me immediately with enthusiasm. Many years later, when I first used plants as a motif on a dam in Japan or on my cleaning cloth drawings, I remembered this fascination with pleasure.

Klaus Dauven, 2017

Klaus Dauven (DE)
Ohne Titel
35 x 37 cm
dirt on cleaning cloth

Klaus Dauven (DE)
Matsudagawa dam, Ashikaga Japan

Klaus Dauven (DE)
Matsudagawa dam, Ashikaga Japan

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Hadassah Emmerich / Tarsila do Amaral

Tarsila do Amaral
O Lago
75,5 x 93 cm
oil on canvas

The work of Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil, 1886–1973) came to my attention about a decade ago. She has remained an important reference artist for me, not only because of her great paintings but also because she has been a constructive ‘bridge-figure’ between different cultures, creating a fusion between ‘tropical’ Brazilian representations and ‘western’ modernism.

One of her most well-known paintings is ‘Abaporu’ (1928), translated as ‘flesh-eating man’, which was a gift to her husband and poet Oswald de Andrade. It inspired him to write the ‘Anthropophagic Manifesto’, and was the starting point for the ‘Anthropophagic Movement’:

“This Movement sought to devour and transform the culture of the external other, i.e. the cultures of Europe and North America and the culture of the internal other, i.e. the cultures of the Native Americans and the descendants of African and Asian immigrants. This approach adhered to the metaphorical character of the word “Anthropophagic”. In summary, one should not reject or imitate foreign cultures, but rather “swallow”, “digest”, and integrate them in a new creative process. The figure of the Abaporu became the symbol of the Anthropophagic Movement that advocated a rebellion against the submission of the Brazilian cultural standards to the art doctrines of developed countries at the time.” ( – biography)

The idea to link the figure of cannibalism to the idea of ‘swallowing cultures’ is in my opinion still very actual in terms of rethinking cultural colonialism. The work of Tarsila do Amaral is a great example of a female painter who was able to explore these complex issues at the forefront of Modernism and throughout the various periods of her career whilst keeping an open, fresh and curious look onto the world.

Hadassah Emmerich, 2017

Hadassah Emmerich (NL)
Ulterior Motive 8
74 x 47 cm
oil and printing ink on linen