2006

Air Squadron     "Air Squadron"

  oil on canvas h93 x w133cm,
  January 2006
 

Again a painting full of movement. This painting is a combination of elements in two different photographs. In the one photograph pilots are running towards their planes and in the other photographs there are two planes. The photograph of the running pilots was probably taken during World War II, and the other of the planes probably atr the beginning of the 20th century. Although the two therefore do not match as to timing, they do visually blend in very well together. Historians may well be able to spot a mixup, but the average onlooker will not worry about technicalities. I traced the running figures from the photographs onto transparent foil, sometimes displacing and mirroring them, so that they would best fill the space. After that I traced the planes behind them. With carbon paper I transferred the picture onto paper and drew a grid over it. Then I scaled up the grid onto canvas and drew everything on the canvas again. After so much preparatory drawing I finally filled everything with paint.


The Odd Couple     "The Odd Couple"

  oil on canvas h83 x w113cm,
  February 2006
 

From a photograph of the Amsterdam Synagoge Hall Choir Koor during the break of a performance a took a man in a tophat, mirrored him and gave him a beer bottle in his hand. The woman next to him is based on my own imagination and not on a photograph. I tried to evoke some tension between the two figures portrayed, much as I did earlier in "Anyone for a Drink?" What does she think of the situation, and does he care?


Everything under Control     "Everything under Control"

  oil on canvas h73 x b93cm,
  March 2006
 

I have often painted men in hats, and every time I come across them in photographs I cut them out. With figures from three different photographs I have composed this picture. The person on the left is from a photograph of Nazi-occupied Paris, the person in the centre from a film still (I do not know which film), and the person on the right is man of letters Eddy du Perron (picture taken in 1922). This is a thirties scene of a sort of press conference by CIA or FBI agents reassuring the population that everything is under control now. At press conferences the situation is sometimes made out better than it actually is, and mysterious whispering of the left-hand (sinister (Lat.)) figure suggests that here too reality and truth do not necessarily match. What is he saying that we are not meant to hear? And what does he know that we are absolutely not supposed to know?


China: the Lost World     "China: the Lost World"

  oil on canvas h83 x w103cm,
  April 2006
 

This painting is based on a photograph in an ad for Messe Frakfurt. China is changing rapidly from a Maoist Utopia into a capitalist society. The old China is literally and figuratively demolished at an incredible pace, and we should be lucky if icons that represent China to us will still exist in a few years. On thejeft there are signs on the wall, and they are not purely for decoration and meaningless. In the for lines, to be read from the top right to the bottom left, it says:
  The light is fading fast
  The old world is disappearing
  Making money is supposed to be good now
  How will we be happy tomorrow?
The lines have been translated into classical Chinesse characters by Jos Hu, colleague at Zuyd University. Since the 50s simplified Chinese script is used in China. In Singapore since the 80s. In Taiwan and Hong Kong the non-simplified characters are still used. Since the beginning of the previous century Chinese is written horizontally, from left to right. The more complicated, vertical script that I have chosen here makes the text more clasical and timeless. The lines could have been written hundreds of years ago.


Fame, please     "Fame, please"

  oil on canvas h103 x w83cm,
  October 2006
 

Nothing produces more gall than writing on the wall, I sometimes feel. In the previous painting the text on the wall was unreadable for most and not eye-catching, but in this painting there is no escaping the message. This slogan cries out for attention, and voices the dream of the maker to become a recognized and famous artist one day. Is graffiti art or not? I think it can definitely be art, and there are fantastic pieces of art among the tags, but this spray can man's slogan is not really it. The graffiti artist hides under a hood and looks startled and worried instead of proud now that he is caught red-handed during his probably illegal act.


Mary-Rose     "Mary-Rose"

  oil on canvas h83 x w103cm,
  October 2006
 

Somewhat dazed by old age or hardness of hearing Mary-Rose looks at what is happening in her farmyard outside this picture. 'Don't think I donít notice'. The clothes and milk-can suggest a rural environment. The female figure comes from a photograph probably taken in Mexico of a brother and sister next to a barn, as far as I can make it out. I felt I had to name this painting after her, but what name would I give her? Some suggested Juliana, after our former Queen, but I opted for Mary-Rose, an old-fashioned name with connotations of the American Bible Belt, where traditional standards and values are carved into peopleís faces. That is how I see her.


What's the point of talking?     "What's the point of talking?"

  oil on canvas h84 x w104cm,
  November 2006
 

The person on the left comes from a photograph by Ara Güler. In that photograph he is part of a group of three men discussing something, but here I have cut him loose as it were and turned him away from the person sitting next to him. The person on the right is inspired by an article in Volkskrant magazine with photographs of Chinese people who apparently have the odd habit of dozing off during the day, even at work, and being able to wake up instantly whenever required. The subject of this picture is the lack of or superfluity of communication. When everything has been said, being present is enough. Why talk, when looking around or shutting your eyes will do just as well? It is a very static picture that clearly signals that these gentlemen have nothing to say to each other, for now. The one on the right takes a relaxed pose, but the one on the left fidgets with his fingers. Not hand in glove then?


Hmmm, you don't say...     "Hmmm, you don't say..."

  oil on canvas h68 x w103cm,
  December 2006
 

This is the other part of Ara Güler's photograph. In your mind you can paste the person on the left in 'What's the point of talking?' to the right of these two men and you know what the original photograph looked like. The two men in this painting are clearly communicating The man in the beret attentively listens to what the man in the hat explains. By the theatrical lighting from the left and the stage-like setting of the scene the two men seem to be on stage acting out a play.


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