Johan van Oord with Venetian Red in the Espressobar

Johan van Oord, Venetian Red photo: Lotte Stekelenburg

Press release

Venetian Red
Wall painting by Johan van Oord
From 28 May 2011

The museum’s Espresso Bar is getting a new look this summer. This is the second time that the Espresso Bar’s walls are being given over to a contemporary artist. The museum has invited the Rotterdam-based artist Johan van Oord to design a new wall painting for the space.

Johan van Oord (1950) is best known for his precise compositions without a trace of emotion. He does not make landscapes or still lifes, but instead creates abstract, almost mathematical paintings. The title of the wall painting, ‘Venetian Red’, refers to the colour in which it is painted.
(Note for the press: press preview on Wednesday 25 May)

Perfect craftsmanship
Johan van Oord’s way of working is closer to that of an architect or a carpenter than an artist. After designing a specific form, he paints it with the precision and skill of a master painter-decorator. This is craftsmanship rather than artistry: his aim is to achieve perfection.

Painterly magnetism
Drawing on his ‘pill paintings’ from 1996, this new work contains numerous abstract forms such as a sun and a quotation mark. All the forms are charged with a kind of ‘painterly magnetism’: they appear to attract and repel one another. The densely packed forms are placed at a minimal distance of 11 cm from each other. In this way Van Oord creates a kind of abstract space in the white background: an aura between the painted and the unpainted.

Dancing forms
For each wall, Van Oord has made a particular ‘dance’: a composition with its own peculiar rhythm. He works like a choreographer, constantly rearranging the forms: from sun to exclamation mark, from exclamation mark to sun. One pill from each wall flows onto the next, creating a connection between each ‘dance’.

The Espresso Bar
Two years ago the walls of the Espresso Bar played host to a wall painting by the Rotterdam-based artists’ collective Antistrot. On 28 May the baton will officially be passed to Johan van Oord. Visitors can observe the ‘work in progress’ in the week following the opening. The Espresso Bar, designed in 2008 by Simon Heijdens, is located to the left of the museum entrance and is accessible without a ticket to the museum.

Note for editors
For more information and images please contact the Marketing and Communications Department, telephone +31 (0)10 441 9561 or On publication please mention: