As an artist, I am looking for images, that witness a long working process. A working process that consists of a series of actions in which the actions are both the seed and the harvest. It is the action that is catalyst for the image. Actions can be controlled, but are more interesting when there are other, unwanted, unchosen influences involved. Influences like time, temperature, the weather, a lack or incapability to act as you would want. The goal is not to act, but to use the action as a means to find a residue. The residue is a far more interesting result than a chosen, ‘made’ image. A residue is formed, unchosen, unmade. A residue has come into existence. That is why I am looking for these residues, they are real.
We can not deny that of course every action is guided by the ability of the artist to act. In order to minimise the amount of artistic control, I try to install obstacles along the way. Paint in the dark, add a force stronger than your own strenghth, add time...
In the series ‘de nieuwe molens’ I paint hundreds of layers of paint on wooden panels. Due to time, weather, different brands of paint... it is impossible to control the surface of the wooden panels. I can choose the color, but not the arising shape of the surface.
The perfect exercise (although I believe there is no such thing) for me to get started is to paint. On any kind of canvas. I do not look at the canvas while painting, but I stay focused on the lines / shapes that I see in my studio that I want to paint. In this way, an impossibility to guide the line, to adjust the line is created. You do not look at the canvas, so eventually you stop caring about the result. This gives you more space to care about the feeling of painting, and this also gives you more time to concentrate on what you see. At a certain point, you lose the feeling of micro and macro. The smallest of pieces of rubbish can have the most amazing lines and shapes, as do also the largest works of architecture, and everything in between. All these lines are mixed, without looking or thinking, on the canvas. 3D becomes 2D, and the impossibility to recognise anything familiar in the painting frees the viewer of the obligation that he actually should recognise something.
‘Le chef d’oeuvre inconnu’ is a series of works that come into shape by spraying layers of material (paint, plaster, resine ...) on a carrier (table, chair, small ladder). It is again not the action that defines the shape of the result, but the turbulence, created by compressed air. Erosion and growth go hand in hand and are in a way negatives of each other. The surface is, again, a guided residue.
I sincerely believe that the history of actions form the residue, an that a residue cannot be ‘made’. Unless of course you are the master of all actions in the universe, or the slave to the quest titled ‘residue’.
Courtesy of Bruthausgallery