Suddenly NL

Plots, exhibition concept, 1994
↳ Plots, exhibition invitations, 1994

I have to be a young artist. In and around schools, academies and universities a lot of works of various kinds were created. I was influenced by all kinds of images and theories. And now suddenly I show a series of paintings. This rewritten text may be added to them and casts a certain light on their nature.

A long time ago, I knew so little about art that I could hardly help but work spontaneously and unconsciously. Images seemed to strike me as gifts just like that. But such naive songs don't last long. With every instinctive act I learned more and more. This inevitable and automatic discovery introduced an illusion of rationality, insight and dullness. Everything I did seemed conceived and gradually disappointed.

To regain the coincidence, the surprise, I exaggerated the thoughtfulness. Or concretely: I made collages with the most blatant figuration in a composition constructed as artificially as possible. Through the exaggerated and chaotic tinkering with the scraps, a certain coincidence arose that made the first collages appear quickly. But just as quickly a certain transparency and the same kind of illusion of programmedness appeared as in the so-called unconscious paintings.

It takes longer and longer before I can finally glue the collages together, because the tinkering slowly becomes unbearable. Sometimes all that's left is the hope of a happy coincidence, which then suddenly emerges from the endless tinkering. And that is why I keep cutting and arranging. Because the coincidence seems to arise just as inevitably and automatically as it was conceived. And both turn out to be an illusion in the first place.

In the meantime, the painting of the figurative detail of the collages seemed to me so attractively unimaginable and unthinkable that unexpected images were indeed created for me again. That coincidence only hung in the air for a while because the afterpainting seemed to be gradually conceivable and tas if already begun. Coincidence again devised.

By obscuring my own thoughts and insights with conscious malfunctions, sometimes unexpectedly sudden images appear. A previously conceived and painted image penetrates every next thought-out image that is painted on it. It is in the temporary blindness of this mixture of images that chance seems to show itself again and again, and only once, as a seemingly thoughtless gift.

Author: Hans Verhaegen, 1994