16 February - 18 May, 2008 PRESS RELEASE - The presentation ‘Through Hell & High Water’ at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen shows the peculiar worlds of artist Ewoud van Rijn. Painted drawings on large sheets of paper in which capricious environments take shape through a dark interplay of lines.
It all begins with a small-scale sketch. The images, already formed by the thought process, a layering of ideas and associations, are transferred onto paper. The scenes this generates are not static, but are being complemented, combined, and are in a sense growing. The resulting image is blown up through slide projection. After the lines have been traced one by one, form, depth and tonal contrast are added with acrylic and ink. This happens during, as Ewoud van Rijn describes it himself, a meditative process of elaboration, because the artist, during this phase, is completely caught up in the slowly emerging world.
Ewoud van Rijn (The Hague, 1967) lives and works in Rotterdam. The works he makes are a mythology in images. They are his response to the cultural pessimism prevalent everywhere, and the idea that art is dead. In his work, the corpses are metaphors for the artists, and the nymphs for the artists’ muses.
‘Venture & the Muses Imperative’
The drawings shown at the museum, at least 150 by 110 centimeters in size, represent ‘death’ as well as ‘rebirth’. The ‘Venture’ drawings look like blown-up pictures from a book, the narrative of which has been lost, leaving only the cryptic illustrations. Each work depicts an island that is being undermined by the forces of nature. The islands are inhabited by human fairies, animated corpses and decaying remains.
The works in ‘The Muses Imperative’ show the other side of this image. The adoration of the muse, taking the shape of a water nymph. In splashing and swirling water imagery, the muse passes on oracles and assignments, in the imperative, such as ‘Be Mysterious’, ‘Be Clueless, be Hopeless, be Useless’, etc.
The drawings from both series come together in an installation especially developed for the museum by the artist. The presentation, just like the works themselves, is characterized by dualities. Ewoud van Rijn’s creations are infused with humour and gravity, art and reality, finiteness and return.
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