Zeno X Gallery is proud to present a new solo exhibition, Walled Garden, by Kees Goudzwaard (°1958, Utrecht).
In contrast to most exhibitions in the gallery, Kees Goudzwaard’s already starts behind the reception desk. An entire wall is covered with a Risograph made by the artist himself. It requires patient observation on the part of the viewer to discern that it is not the repetition of a single pattern. The eye travels constantly to and fro, in search of similarities and differences, because memory lets us down. There is a desire to crack the code of this playful scene. Where is the beginning and where the end? The shapes of the elements recall torn pieces of tape, but also organisms that are drawn to one another only to be repelled, to mutiny or disband. The rhythmic alternation of the size of the particles gives the impression of depth. Some components are little more than dots that seem further away from us. Others betray the fact that this print was created in layers by superimposing colors and shapes, thus creating spatial tension.
In total there are 256 variations derived from six basic patterns and the possible color combinations within a color scheme comprising yellow, green, purple, orange and gray. To create them, Goudzwaard developed a numerical system akin to a musical score.
The composition is evenly spread across the surface but is not rigid. There are perceptible currents, as in the sea or the air. It is a stimulating representation that caresses our senses. The work of Kees Goudzwaard constantly balances in an ambiguous, interstitial space. There is order and disorder, peace and unrest, structure and chaos; the composition is both static and dynamic. The whitespace connects the whole and at the same time ensures rest and breathing room. Positive forms only exist thanks to the presence of negative forms.
This mural installation was originally created in Maastricht, where the Jan Van Eyck Academie invited the artist to install a permanent work. Several months ago, a variant was on view in an exhibition by ROMA publications in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. Previously, he installed a temporary wall in the S.M.A.K. in Ghent, the Programa Art Center in Mexico and in Culturgest in Lisbon. Next year a new work will be shown in the entrance hall of Villa Croce in Genoa.
The exhibition continues in the two more intimate spaces of the gallery, where the viewer has to take different positions in order to look at one or several paintings. The artist wants to make the viewer slow down by means of his paintings, and in this way stimulate memories and emotions. His own frame of reference and sources of inspiration belong to the intimate atmosphere of the studio. Under no circumstances does he wish to influence the experience of viewing or interpretation, and as a consequence avoids any form of anecdote or narration. Goudzwaard constantly seeks to bridge the visual and mental experience of the here and now in time and space. A painting is for him like an object that carries a metaphor and representation within itself. The image comes together after a studio process in which time and doubt are allies.
Kees Goudzwaard’s studio is a large, white space filled with neutral northern light. Tubes of paint are arrayed on a long table. The floor is covered with small and large stacks of colored paper, transparent acetate held together with tape. This is how he makes sketches and models in preparation for his paintings. First he assembles the palette and then he experiments with shapes and formats in order to arrive at a composition in which the desired tension is constructed. Goudzwaard is not an artist who speaks in extremes, but one who tests the possibilities with an open mind and goes to work with an intuitive, philosophical attitude. Nothing is one-sided. Although he has formulated a number of parameters for organizing the layers and shapes, it remains a primarily intuitive process driven by doubt. Time ensures that this doubt is focused. The artist starts from a model because on the one hand it involves positing an example and on the other because it stands for the temporary.
The image dominates the material, which is flat – at least, at first sight. Painting is a process that Goudzwaard links to pleasure and freedom. Considerations concerning things like composition, movement or temporality are first examined from a variety of perspectives and investigated in a paper model that is subsequently captured permanently in paint. This gives him the opportunity to nuance the intensity of the color, for example, which he can temper or amplify. Although it is crucial that he paint the work himself, he erases all trace of his own involvement that might be caused by extroverted or emphatic brushwork. His paintings are not only about himself, but also about the viewer, becoming a balancing act between the personal and the distant in order to make encounters possible. Goudzwaard says the following of the painted surface:
‘The representation forms a sensible layer, a transition zone between the material reality before the image and an invisible but probably imaginable reality behind it. You could look at what is painted as a sort of skin, in the factual and the metaphorical sense. Like a garment, the façade of a house or a curtain. Something that can conceal or actually reveal, offer access. In a comparable way, my paintings function as dividing and projection screens between the real, observable space where individual desires or memories form a counterweight.’ (Kees Goudzwaard)
Zeno X Gallery (press release)