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Nest – Between the lines

On Wednesday November 11th a new program of Nest ‘Between the lines’ (‘Tussen de regels door’) will start, a reading café in which we will read and collectively discuss books, essays, poetry and articles that have a relationship with the current exhibition. The exhibition ‘A Fair Share of Utopia’ is accompanied by the publication ‘Wat Niet Is Maar Kan Zijn’, in which 9 writers and 9 artists respond to a thought experiment that was investigated by human rights lawyer Michelle Alexander in The New York Times of October 2018. Her essay What if We’re All Coming Back? is based on the central question: ‘If you were to die today and reincarnate a generation later, in what world would you want to be born, no matter where or who you are? Lieneke Hulshof, editor-in-chief of online art magazine Mister Motley and co-editor of the publication ‘Wat Niet Is Maar Kan Zijn’, will lead the discussion this first evening.

The programme will take place in the exhibition in Nest and places are limited, so sign up quickly by emailing info@nestruimte.nl under the caption ‘Between the lines’.

Between the lines
in collaboration with Mister Motley
Date: 11 November
Time: 20:00 – 21:00
Book: Wat Niet Is Maar Kan Zijn
Costs: €15,- incl. the book

*This edition will be in Dutch

15 Nov – 13:00 – 17:30
Artist: Jos van Merendonk
The community of the painted

For the occasion we will slightly spread the 'openings'. Apart from Sunday 15 November Jos van Merendonk will also be present on Sundays 29 November and Sunday 13 December from 13-17:30 hrs
The 'openings' - with a maximum of 10 people at a time in our 125 m2 space - are also safe for a drink outside in front of or at the back of the gallery (covered). So take your time and space since it’s spread out well in the afternoon from 13-17:30. It is not necessary to make a reservation, so you might have to wait for a few minutes and we do wear a mouth mask (available on site if necessary). Very welcome!
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“Every event which has really been painted – so that the pictorial language opens – joins the community of everything else that has been painted. Potatoes on a plate join the community of a loved woman, a mountain, or a man on the cross.”
– John Berger, “Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543)”, Portraits: John Berger on Artists

Jos van Merendonk does not base his paintings on the observable reality of the world around us. His works materialise out of the reality of his studio. He constructs them out of a limited number of forms. He paints from earlier drawings, revisits ideas and motifs from older work, and looks at the work of painters from earlier generations and – as painters do – borrows elements to use in his own. Over the past three decades, this has led to an idiosyncratic, multifaceted oeuvre.

The title “The Community of the Painted” derives from an essay by the English author and artist John Berger (1926–2017), quoted above. Though Berger was primarily writing about paintings that arise from and refer to the world around us, his argument can also be applied to Van Merendonk’s work. More than anything, Berger is writing about the artist’s intense way of looking; about how a reality-transcending representation of that which the artist has seen is the consequence of an interaction between the intensity of his or her gaze and the energy he or she receives from the subject that gaze is aimed at. According to Berger, that which is painted only comes to life, is only really painted, if it has truly been seen by the artist. By this he means that the visual language by which the painter transforms the subject into an image is not just accomplished but urgent. This interplay between intensive looking and creation, between what is seen and what is recorded in compelling imagery, is present in the reality of Van Merendonk’s studio. Other factors playing a role in the making of his art include the relationship between the artist and his subject, his chosen forms and working method, and the relationship between the artist and the painting he is creating. When Van Merendonk considers a work finished, he steps back, and the painting leaves the context of the studio to be exhibited or become part of a collection.

A certain level of intensity of gaze paired with a highly urgent visual language is the foundation of all art that matters, as Berger saw and aptly expressed in his essay. For him, a subject that is truly seen and then visualised in compelling imagery joins the “community of the painted”. This community encompasses many forms and styles and spans centuries: painted potatoes on a plate become part of the same community as a painted beloved woman, mountain, man on a cross. So too do the painted, pendulum traces, ovals, Z-shapes and residual forms in Van Merendonk’s works.

Roland Groenenboom