Klaas Kloosterboer

18/01/20 - 07/03/20

Opening: Saturday 18 January, 17-19 hrs

Preview: Saturday 18 January, 15 hrs - with fruit and veggie cocktails.

Ellen de Bruijne Projects is pleased to announce “2 steps 3-steps” a solo by Klaas Kloosterboer with paintings, semi-paintings and paintings in disguise. For this occasion, the curator and critic Mark Kremer had a preliminary talk on the artist studio, which created the following inspiring introduction:

Artist Opens Pandora's Box Klaas Kloosterboer is a conceptual painter whose art takes variable forms. In his practice he pursues a kind of 'expanded painting'. KK makes pieces following instructions that warrant a swift and objective execution, but he designs his exhibitions as spatial environments that give a feel of improvisation or experimentation. With him a display is never a fixed visual entity but rather a testing ground for artistic ideas.

The installation at the Submarine Wharf, Rotterdam 2013 (XXXL Painting – Klaas Kloosterboer, Chris Martin and Jim Shaw, an initiative of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen) was an intriguing example of the contrary energies that KK often works with. There, many lush and colourful painterly shapes, arranged in two rows opposite each other, were attached to a cable that was going around time and again, dragging these bright forms along like a melancholic procession.

The urge to convey existential undertones is charactistic for KK's art, an installation like the one in Rotterdam clarifies this. Clearly the artist makes his work to say something about life.

KK's new exhibition at Ellen de Bruijne Projects is an intimate affair. 16 small-scale paintings made over a period of 30 years have been installed in the gallery spaces. The earlier paintings were made in 1990, some works around 2000, plus there's a recent division of paintings (2008-today) consisting of 'compositions found in the studio' and of new paintings based on those findings.

The found compositions and associated works depict a free flow of forms. Smears and specks of all sorts combine their energies in suggestive constellations, that make me think of celestial and terrene formations/strata. I sense the earth, or the sky, but not in a usual way. Here the celestial can be robust and austere, or the terrene tender and receptive. I think the artist feels attracted to these found compositions, because of their connection with our interior landscape, and all which resonates therein. Ultimately these paintings address the complexity of feeling...

Abstract painting is Kloosterboer's sentimental hinterland: in his work I sense an admiration for various figures, Barnett Newman and Georg Baselitz strike me as two painters who matter to him. Their art relays evocations of a sacred dimension, and of something rather different: the broken landscape–a metaphor for dead expectations.

Amidst KK's old works based on instructions there is a white painting: it shows the results of throwing paint onto a certain spot, missing it, and doing it again. The trial and error involved in this making act, remind me of Samuel Beckett's phrase: "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

On three paintings (Dutch) words are written in pencil–'doubt'/'desperation'; 'handwriting' (it refers to a painter's écriture), and 'portrait'–these have been painted over by gestures that relate to controlled and emotional actions. These works are suggestive, they open a field of emotion connected both with this painter's practice and with a wider sphere of interhuman experience.

Many years ago he made a number of canvasses with personal pronouns, "I" or "You" written in pencil, that had been literally bombarded by throwing clots of white paint at them, making the words almost disappear. Those conceptual paintings are like existential musings, and they gain relevance with respect to the current discourse on identity politics and the role of art in it.

Let me return once more to the other works. Most of them are based on a simple instruction, e.g., cover a canvas with rows of brown stains that will not touch one another. The result is very earthly, I recognize the image of cow pies on a farmer's field. And here we have another poignant background to KK's practice, his experience of the polder land in which he grew up - whereof the echoes still resound in his statement: "Space and Freedom Is what I Long For."

The works in this show all have their place in a kammerspiel experienced and enacted by this artist: an intimate setting where it is important to brace yourself, be ready for the unexpected, and open yourself to the beautiful things. One work has an unpainted section on the left side, and this white, bare surface - it looks like a face or a bust of which we only see the contours - is now being caressed by the brown shape on the right. Here paint is making love to emptiness.

The exhibition conveys the sense of making new beginnings. The paintings on show are icons of modesty and pertinence. We could ask whether this artist has unleashed a storm, now that his found compositions are free. It will be interesting to see how this undercurrent will evolve.

Text: Mark Kremer Amsterdam, Winter 2020

Klaas Kloosterboer (Schermer, 1959) lives and works in Schermerhorn, and studied at the Rijksakademie Amsterdam. Exhibitions include the upcoming show Hedge House, Wijlre (2020), Solo at Kristof de Clercq, Ghent (2019), De Meest Eigentijdse Schilderijen, Museum Doordrecht (2018), Kunst van formaat, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2018),The Painted Bird, Marres, Maastricht (2017), Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp (duo show with Frank Koolen, 2017),Voorraad, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam (2016), Guts (No Guts),Kristof de Clercq Gallery, Ghent (duo show with Peter Morrens, 2015), Blue Suit, Bob van Orsouw Gallery, Zurich (2014), Painting XXXL: Klaas Kloosterboer, Chris Martin and Jim Shaw, Submarine Wharf of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2013), Collectie van Valen Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011), Villa Romana, Florence (2010), Sudsudvestur, Reykjavik (2009) and The Projection Project, Budapest episode, Kunsthalle, Budapest(2007).

Image: Klaas Kloosterboer, 13116, 2013, oil on hardboard, 65 x 50 cm

Ellen de Bruijne Projects
Singel 372
1016 AH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31-6494 85 207
Public opening hours: Wed – Friday: 11 – 18 hrs, Sat: 13 – 18 hrs