During the summer, the Art gallery in Uddevalla shows a collection
exhibition with contemporary paintings. The group TAOP (The Act of
Painting) is basically composed of Dutch artists who since 2013 are
looking for international collaborations. This year the tour has come to
Sweden. Together with Swedish artist Lukas Göthman, an exhibition of
eighteen colleagues from Sweden, Holland, Japan, the USA and Germany has
now been compiled. The initiator of the fluent and changing artist
Collective is the artists Raymond Cuijpers and Jeroen Hofhuizen.
The art gallery with its generous ceiling height and large, square
exhibition rooms are truly fair with the present exhibition. It is not a
simple room, but is perfect for large-scale painting in an enlarged
sense, which here also includes hanging objects by Bella Rune. Her
thread installation makes herself very well as a hub in the room, around
which others talk from their entrance to painting and abstraction.
Lukas Göthman, who has long worked with rewording of painterly
concepts with language and words as important constituent parts and
initiator, shows here a wall with to the outer more painterly gestures
or markings. Centrally, a wide-format watercolor is held in grayscale,
with floating letter-like islands. They seem to have been sucked out and
extended out of the background’s finely spaced and random tuchskvättar.
To be an analog work, it lends image thinking from the digital world’s
in-zoom and layer-on-layer capabilities.
Johan Zetterqvist has contributed one for the exhibition made mural
with black rectangles nagged with smaller squares placed over an angry
yellow under painting. It looks like images of early versions of hole
cards, but is in fact the artist’s own font which here is used to write
the word disobedience in English: “Disobedience”. The work is a series
of the artist’s fictional proposals for public works. At all, you can
see experiments with shapes, gestic repetitions and shifts that live in
the borderland between languages, symbols and images. One could describe
today’s abstract experiments as a process-seeking boundaries or the
smallest elements of thinking and the human perception ability. As a
painterly tool, simple instructions can form the basis for exploration.
Dutch Wieteke Heldens has confined itself to a set of marker pens
that are used until they run out. The insets of dashes create rectangles
that are given natural gradients as the pens are consumed. German
Charlotte Warsen also examines how the painterly gesture formulates
through different types of markings in the space of the pigeon, attached
from the spray cage’s mouth or with another tool. Painting politics is
the subject of her upcoming doctoral thesis in philosophy.
So far, the exchange between brain scientists and artists in the
Painterly field is somewhat limited. For example, Nobel laureate Eric
Kandel has in the book Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging
the Two Cultures (2016) made an artistic point of view but interesting
initial comparison. One would wish that more detailed collaborations
could be established between the different practices in order to jointly
seek the knowledge and poetry about the human innermost way of working.
The artists have probably early sought out the most interesting
tracks for how we experience the world and build knowledge. This
realization I carry with me in the meeting with today’s contemporary
painters who work abstract, where even the gesture during the process or
movement as such is important. Then there is, of course, the historical
legacy of both spiritually seeking early modernism, of the interest in
Gestalt psychological phenomena such as the exploration of the
The youngest Swedish participant, Jim Thorell’s painting, can be seen
from this conglomerate of old and new, with broken timeline. His
paintings could be dreams of jungle or underwater landscapes, or
apocalyptic ecology. But past the smart also role models from century
end 1800 and early modernism: Helmer Osslund’s painting imprisoned by
Raymond Cuijpers, as one of the founders of TAOP (The Act of
Painting), participates with two major paintings in mixed technology,
with oil as a base. His early football career was interrupted due to
injuries and the choice to devote himself to art gave some attention.
The intuitive reaction paired with the trained rapid movements has
continued to influence Cuijpers increasingly abstract-acting painting.
But the figuration is there as an inassembled exclamation mark in the
works, as stop symbols for reflection.
Rudy Klomp, the Elder of the exhibition, works with a semiabstract
world, where the words and letters, the ritually-acting characters,
create distinctive patterns and motifs. I am given the long tradition of
painting in the thought, such as Wölfli. And perhaps it is precisely
from this singular alienating and seeking that the contemporary,
abstract-oriented painters get their nourishment. Everything is possible
and allowed, but requires its personally instituted regulations or
productive limits to be extracted: philosophy in its most basic form,
based on the possibilities of sense the world.