2008

Blackbird     "Blackbird"

  oil on canvas h83 x w103cm,
  januari 2008
 

A small picture in a book on birds caught my eye for being pitiful and beautiful at the same time. A newly-hatched blackbird. At first I thought it was a dead little bird, but this appeared not to be the case. So that was a pleasant surprise. Let's hope the little fellow will make it, so he can later naively and clumsily hop across the garden and come and sit on my feeder.
The text in the painting is copied from the lyrics of a song by the Eels called 'I Like Birds'. There is no need for explanation once you have read the whole thing:
  I can't look at the rocket launch
  The trophy wives of the astronauts
  And I won't listen to their words
  'Cause I like birds
  I don't care for walking downtown
  Crazy auto-car gonna mow me down
  Look at all the people like cows in a herd
  Well, I like birds
  If you're small and on a search
  I've got a feeder for you to perch on.
  I canít stand in line at the store
  The mean little people are such a bore
  But it's all right if you act like a turd
  'Cause I like birds.
  If you're small and on a search
  I've got a feeder for you to perch on.



Power Play     "Power Play"

  oil on canvas h63 x w83cm,
  March 2008
 

A complex as well as a humoristic image. Totalitarian regimes enjoy rituals involving impressive symbols, buildings, uniforms, parades and flag-showing. Especially communist rulers seem to have a craving for this. Power to the people is a distant echo. Here I have chosen a flag that resembles the European Union flag, but the stars have been replaced by smileys. Smiling faces on the flag but not under the martial caps: yes, life is not a bed of roses. Power play is a part of life here, too. Look and see how the intrigues are already under way. The officers do not stand close to or behind the waving leader, but they are talking among themselves. What about? How long before the bomb bursts? Or are we too suspicious and do we imagine fire where there is not even smoke? Do not take this as a heavy political accusation but as a statement that reality usually does not match what we are told and shown. Believers in 'what you see is what you get' are often disappointed.


Desperate Housewives     "Desperate Housewives"

  oil on canvas h84 x w104cm,
  April 2008
 

The title refers to a theory initially proposed by Aristotle stating that nature 'fears' empty space. Therefore empty space would always be trying to suck in gas or liquids to avoid being empty. The vacuum cleaner model Remoco Z49 from 1938, sold in Europe under the Erres name has here been rechristened Electrolux, because I liked the sound of that name better and I wished to immortalize it on account of its unforgettable slogan 'nothing sucks like Electrolux'.
The ladies' legs were taken from a Bijenkorf department store brochure. On the one hand the choice for ladiesí legs was an experiment for me to try and express emotion with legs rather than with faces. On the other hand I wanted an old-fashioned 40s/50s link between household work and women, combined with a sexy appeal which would have been unthinkable in those days in advertising. This makes for a nice, layered piece of work, just like the previous painting.


The Team     "The Team"

  oil on canvas h73 x w103cm,
  May 2008
 

The football players are doing their utmost, but they are getting nowhere. On closer inspection they appear to be skewered as in a table football game. In table football the players in the field are powerless puppets in the hands of the two players operating the levers. They are directed from above. This is no different in society, so you can also see this painting as a comment on our society. The question is whether teams are really teams and whether team building is merely a forced operation with a short effect. Look at the body language and the facial expressions and you will see that they are not making headway in acting as a team. It is up to the spectator on the stands to decide whether this is due to internal friction, due to the coach or due to the invisible opponent (= opposition from all sorts of angles). What is clear, however, is that the ball is not in the players' court but elsewhere, as it is nowhere to be seen here.
The football players have been modeled after various pictures made of real players (among them Ruud van Nistelrooij). I have manipulated them in such a way that they jointly tell a story. In have changed the expressions and the skin colours here and there. I have had to redraw the pictures, as some were taken from higher and lower perspectives, to fuse everything into one perspective.


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