I had originally conceived the painting Circus of Life 4th Act for a large exhibition space, where it completely dominated one wall.
This gives the viewer the impression of being part of the action in the painting, as the work completely fills his or her field of vision.
Its composition in space was roughly derived from the way so-called peep-boxes created spatial illusions in the 18th century.
And yet the work is also more than just a colorful, painted backdrop in a classical medium, rendered with acrylic and oil paints; I also work with several picture planes that react to different light frequencies and thus create, for example, a much more three-dimensional image in various lights, something that has a strong bearing on the viewer’s experience.
I chose this exact size and incorporated different picture planes because I wanted the image to create a certain experience for the viewer.
The works were suspended opposite and facing one another in the two entrances to the space; the idea was to create a similar, encompassing effect.
capture and convey in an unfiltered, comprehensible way. These are characters, moments, sensations, experiences, thoughts, observations taken from life, about life. Rendering it means I also let go of realistic form and color when painting.
The Circus of Life cycle of works deals with the (theatrical) play of life. But one can also say our life and, from the viewpoint of the viewer, possibly also his or her own life experience.
With this work I felt the need for a more intense visual experience, which also gave me the idea to create a kind of port of access (for me and the viewer) into this world, like a door to another level that one feels in real life – thereby making the invisible visible.
So I started experimenting in the lab like a researcher, and that allowed me to design several more image planes that responded to different frequencies of light.
The work is not only a richly-hued scene in the classic medium of painting with acrylic and oil pigments (image above); I also work with various light waves to build and reinforce the connection between viewer and image. Also, the composition of the image in this work is such that the viewer herself is meant to enter the image world, so to speak, and thus becomes the center of it.
Seen in total darkness (below), the image is reduced to the essentials. The only recognizable features are green lines, rough drawings, and brushstrokes that slowly fade away. The image suddenly appears monochrome, sketchy, and almost takes on something of a typographic quality. It is as if the intended essence of the work – that is, the elementary characteristics and qualities of the figures – only comes into view when light is turned off, as though it lurked behind the colors that dominate when the surface is fully lit.
The painting appears monochromatic and symbolic in complete darkness – yet once exposed to a frequency of light that is almost invisible to the human eye, the dark background gives way to an unfathomable depth of space.
The extreme luminosity of the colors causes individual areas to come to the fore and take on something of a sculptural quality, while other figures that seemed so vibrant in the light recede into the background and merge with the black picture surface – a surface that appears to dissolve in its own materiality. At the same time, the image loses its containment through the contours of the canvas. It fuses with the space traditionally occupied by the viewer.
Other levels connect viewer and work in their lack of color…
… and so the paintings reveal yet another level.
One that also comes through in other works.