De tentoonstelling VERLENGD!
The exhibition will last until the 22nd of October!
Chabot Museum Rotterdam
Marjolijn van den Assem ontmoet Henk Chabot
t/m 22 oktober 2017
zie: IMMERSION/ABSORPTION (the ultimate video)
Henk Chabot. Golf op het strand 1933
olieverf op doek 70 x 90 cm
Marjolijn van den Assem. Oubliable(48) 2000
Olieverf op linnen 40 x 50 cm.
From the catalogue (zie: het Cahier):
… da zittert alles …
With unprecedented devotion the Rotterdam-born artist Marjolijn van den Assem works constantly on a consistent oeuvre. She follows her inquiring mind with
great determination. Time and time again and in a surprising and refreshing way she manages to turn this into engaging images in a truly unique visual language: paintings, drawings, three-dimensional work. The sources of her inspiration are philosophy (almost forty years’ study of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche) and nature. She directly and sensually identi es with her subject matter. Today, her work has been acquired by many Dutch museums and is represented in important private collections.
In the summer Marjolijn van den Assem often works in situ – in the countryside – as
a basis for ‘looking’ and as ‘training for the hand’. It is here that she uses pencil, ink and paint to follow the rate the water ows and the speed of the clouds. She takes the experience of painting outdoors back to the studio with her. This results in a new ow of images, series of works in which she tries to recall those intense moments, to make them more profound. There is a certain inexhaustibility in the way she thus approaches and probes all her subjects, she identi es with them. She actually visits the particular places in Europe where the philosopher Nietzsche lived and worked
as director and actor, researcher and designer in his own life, to gain inspirational sources for study. In her studio she walks these paths again in her imagination, creeps further and further inside them by remembering the details, immerses herself in magni cent waterfalls, allows the current of the River Saale to carry her away (quite literally, swimming!) and back in the familiar and protective surroundings of her studio yields to the ow and the swirling pace at which the images, sometimes to her own surprise, seismographically present themselves on the paper through the dynamics of her hand movement. To accomplish this she works on her studio oor, which enables her to walk around her work and continually see it from all sides.
The writer and poet Hans Sleutelaar once aptly compared her approach with a shamanistic way of working that ‘during the creative process enables the artist to convert spontaneous psychic energy into images and to employ the resulting paint marks as personal force elds. In this process the maker temporarily becomes at one with the artwork, awakens its consciousness and makes it ‘speak’. […] This sort of attitude also means that the artist does not want to be tied to a style but wants to continually reinvent ways of painting and drawing.’
Dynamic two-dimensional works on paper thereby effortlessly go on to become three-dimensional works since the paper, in order to reach yet further and deeper into the perception, is also rolled, furled, torn, stapled and in some cases bent into steel into which one could disappear. In Van den Assem’s latest work this has led to images that are mostly reminiscent of monumental theatrical scenery in which large, two-dimensional works on paper are loosely arranged sometimes stapled three-dimensionally, hanging from big nails layered in front of each other.
Inevitably her way of working is accompanied by a form of self-analysis. This personal examination is recorded and documented in photos, texts, quotes and relics from her travels much of which is now housed as a gift in the Nietzsche Dokumentations- zentrum in Naumburg (Saale) in Germany, some parts, however, can also be seen at the presentation.
This intensive explanation of herself and her work is also the natural way for her to enter into the meeting with (the work of) the artist Henk Chabot and this has resulted in a visually intriguing and powerful artistic conversation in which she, with Chabot as reference, also ‘rediscovers’ and positions her own work.
In order to get this conversation going Van den Assem taps into every available source. She does not simply look carefully; she almost ‘devours’ everything she can nd. She writes on her blog: ‘In Henk Chabot’s bookcase I discovered the book Das Teu ische und Groteske in der Kunst (Munich, 1911). In the demonic and grotesque nature of the language the committed writer nds thunderous and blasting descrip- tions for hundreds of pictures. The book probably made a deep impression on Henk Chabot. ‘On me, too …’ She singles out the following linking quote as the core of her ndings: ‘[…] da zittert alles Handwerkliche in der seelischen Erregung mit […] es ist der technische Ausdruck des staunens.’, and wonderfully translates this as: ‘[…]
the workmanship now trembles along with the excitement-of-the-soul […] it is the technical ‘translation’ of amazement.’
She makes a link here to Chabot’s seas from 1933, the rugged year Chabot spent in Zeeland where, in the words of Carel Blotkamp, ‘it is as if Chabot is brie y able to completely escape from all the worries and is able to indulge himself in searching for the means to express everything he sees around him’. When sent a picture of Chabot’s earliest landscape that he painted when he was eleven and where the young artistic talent is already ying off the canvas, the response is immediate: ‘touchingly beautiful!’ She reads his biography, avidly absorbing every word and enjoys it, including the use of language. She is stunned and amazed by how much she can identify with in his life and work. She points to the introduction that describes so exactly what she too experiences as the motivation for and essence of being an artist: ‘much and greedily had those eyes looked around, with the intention of recording something and passing it on, but then in such a way that the essence of it would speak to others. Those eyes had observed people, animals and things; they had soaked up wild summer landscapes and silent winter views with the same tension; they had tracked down the secrets of the sea, when waves, winds and clouds play together; they had seen through the majestic silence of the countryside and the aimless bustle of the city. They had always been seeking a piece of life that allowed itself to be caught in a play of colours, light and lines. What came in through the eyes of Chabot, came out so eloquently via his small, well-formed and skilful hands, that it must speak to others in a way that was unique.’
Based on the wish and need to get close, for the necessary process of immersion
and absorption, a deliberate decision was made when putting together the exhibition to show works from Marjolijn van den Assem’s own archives; the so-called ‘hidden’ works as these are generally referred to; the works that were produced from her own studio, storage and home and that were often a totally surprising (re)discovery. Works that could be said to be predestined for the presentation intended as an overview
of signi cant artistic moments in what is by now a long and rich career as an artist. Works, too, that the artist likes to keep close to her as trophies, which can be viewed as a consolidation and result of a process and most of which have, probably for this reason, never been seen before.
Chabot’s works that enter into the artistic conversation with these works by Van den Assem, can be regarded as representing a broad and varied oeuvre and for this same reason primarily come from the collection of the Chabot Museum Rotterdam.
The similarity between the two artists goes further than at rst sight was thought. For instance, from stories told by her father Van den Assem recognises the atmosphere on the Langstraat in Sprang/Waalwijk, the street where the shoemaker’s family lived, and the ight to the city in order to escape this oppressive atmosphere through solid entrepreneurship and perseverance, as described in Chabot’s biography.
For both Van den Assem and Chabot, however, ‘thinking back on’ or ‘restoring’ the experience of the landscape in the intimacy of the studio is a guide and a mainstay. Not the landscape itself but the memory of THE landscape, the memory of its intangible unruliness, spurs each of the artists on to the inspired representation in a creative process. A unique and resolute attempt is made to reveal something of this amazement to the viewer. Freely adapted from Nietzsche the process of immersion (by the artist) becomes the truth (for the viewer).
Van den Assem is able to passionately and enthusiastically convey her uncom- promising quest into visualizing experiences and observations, in words and personally, but ultimately in her visual work. It enables her to inspire people and take them with her into her world of art. This is also conveyed in her admiration of and choice of the work of Chabot: ‘My vision of Chabot has come to me via many layers of paint. The resolution and obstinacy in his paintings continually gave me new things to think about. I read his handwriting, recognised the hard-won experience and the jubilation, and felt at home.’
The presentation of IMMERSION ABSORPTION will be held at the place that Marjolijn van den Assem calls her ‘favourite museum’; in the intimate, open and bright spaces of the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam, centrally located in the city where she lives and works.
In this context the public will have the chance to drink in the timeless inspiration, the artistic enthusiasm and the painterly invention of these artists, to which the works of art give such powerful expression.
directeur Chabot Museum Rotterdam
(vertaling Jane Hall)
zie ook: NRC online 16-6-2017
(…) dat plekken waar je langs kwam
je gedachten voor je bewaren (…)
Carry van Bruggen
zie: Trouw 17-2-2015