Pim Blokker, Dina Danish & Frank Koolen
»Where the sun hits the water«
Opening: January 29th, 2016, 7pm
Exhibition: January 30th till March 12th, 2016
Sunrays strike the surface of the water covering it with glitter momentarily: In that moment, it’s as if small diamonds appear, creating an intense sparkling that cannot be preserved and will vanish with the next wave or the next cloud (says Pim Blokker). A moment filled with energy, the auspicious glittering all the more magical and exhilarating in its brevity in that it brings about the release of an indefinite inner feeling of sublimity and longing. »Where the sun hits the water« unites the works of three artists who work in the Netherlands.
Pim Blokker was born in Woerden in 1974, he has studied in Den Haag and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, the city in which he now lives and works. His powerful representations of nature and everyday objects alternate between abstraction and narration, they are sometimes almost magically anecdotal and are always characterized by a visual wit that deliberately, with a twinkle of amusement in the eye and with tongue firmly in cheek, move towards the borderline of banality. The individual abstract forms incline towards the figurative, and also form portraits. However, often they drift in an open and humor-inspired dance individually through the image space, without losing their intrinsic character. Detached eyes and limbs meander across the picture surface. In a slapstick-like way, the components of the paintings become independent, indulging in horseplay with each other and with the viewer, who in turn feels observed by the pictures. A dynamic, swift, and loose brush stroke characterizes the Dutch artists painting, occasionally appearing very rough. Yet the superficial impression is deceptive, for the color harmony and rhythm of the paintings is masterly balanced.
Akin to the figurative repertoire and eye-catching representation of a comic strip, everything seems constantly in movement and with a sense of purpose.
Dynamic and directness also characterize the work of the Amsterdam artist Frank Koolen, born in Maastricht in 1978, artist, curator, and teacher at the Utrecht Art Academy. »My work can be described as an ongoing search for the ideal combination between the beauty of discovery and the happiness of recognition. A moment, in which the everyday, the scientific, and the magical seem to collide, creating unexpected logic« – where the sun hits the water.
Determined, Koolen tries to find the most direct way from idea to result, this not for reasons of economy, but is spurred by the conviction that a »reflection in the material« realized as rapidly as possible may lead to unexpected new ideas. Transforming them into changing languages of form such as performance, installation, and photography the artist searches for surprising new interpretations and to create shifts of contexts. By means of unusual new combinations Koolen detects peculiar coincidences; in a one-hour performance he creates spontaneous sculptures from a number of unassociated materials. Larger installations of material conglomerates present a theme in which rafts represent adventure, departure, passage, and new beginnings – symbolic vehicles that stand for spiritual advancement. Often his sculptures appear like mysterious anthropological finds or research objects. His photographs document inadvertent sculptural arrangements, in which the objects seem to have aligned themselves. Koolen’s interest focuses on biology, history, and anthropology, the way people behave towards each other and the questioning of entrenched social systems.
Success and failure in social interaction, is also a topic in Dina Danish’s work. The Egyptian artist, born in Paris in 1981, lives and works in Cairo and Amsterdam. She studied at the American University in Cairo and completed her master’s degree at California College of the Arts. In 2015, Danish was nominated for the Prix de Rome and The Volkrant Art Award.
Influenced by the conceptual art movement of the 1960s, Dina Danish works in various media including painting, sculpture, performance, photography, and video, predominantly with language and structure, focusing in particular on the phenomenon of misunderstandings as well as the fragility of and dependence on the context for interpretation and the conditions of the exchange of information. In often minimal shifts of specific forms of communication and styles from one context into another, or in the fracturing of conventional modes of material usage, linguistic units, and pointed observation of the relationship between speaker and audience, she reveals both poetically and with humor the delicate balance between understanding and misunderstanding and how questionable many agreements and the systems by which they are organized are.
Presented in a pseudoscientific or didactic form, Danish analyzes random incidents and glitches which cause natural laws and the routines of interaction to appear other than axiomatic: stuttering and stammering, tongue twisters, the learning of foreign languages and the credulity embodied in superstition are for her, fields of inquiry. For the most part, the artist uses very straightforward gestures of shifting in such a way sufficient to turn a familiar context reductio ad absurdum, as when she transforms the simple act of »counting on the fingers« into an exaggerated physical effort or when as in one of her early videos, she takes the theme of adopting a foreign language, which in the light of recent social upheaval and in the present context of integration of refugees and asylum seekers, is even, so many years after its creation, perfectly pertinent.