Column #7: bought for corporate collection, Luis Xertu

Just before the Corona era the KPMG Art Committee acquired two big and impressive paintings by the Mexican artist Luis Xertu (1985). At that time we were convinced of the quality and uniqueness of the works. What could not know was how they, in a subtle way, would reflect the time we were facing. The title of his solo show at Torch Gallery, “Renditions of impermanence”, could have betrayed it.

Luis Xertu, Birds of Ash, 2018, 200x256cm

“In the paintings Xertu combines the analogue and the digital; photographing models, painting them, using Photoshop to decide the composition of the surrounding nature and meticulously gluing plants directly onto the canvas to create large scale paintings. Drawing from mythological references, he explores themes of time and aging incorporating the decay of real plants as elements of transformation, which can take several years to happen.” explains the young talented curator of the show, Valentijn van der Hulst to us.

Luis Xertu, God’s First Creature, 2016, 200x200cm

Doron Beuns wrote a interesting insight on XIBT, Contemporary Art Magazine. I quote two passages:

“Life is inherently ephemeral and fragile. Mother Nature could take life at the same rate of creation, even in the most prosperous and medically advanced societies. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has proven that possibility beyond the stretch of our collective imagination. Luis Xertu’s first solo presentation at Torch Gallery in Amsterdam could not have been scheduled at a more interesting time in that respect.”

“… This is where a possible concern about human finitude makes place for the beauty of obsolescence in Xertu’s paintings. They rightfully acknowledge that human experience has always existed on the exact borderline of these two domains. It is up to us where we place the emphasis, especially today.”

Luis Xertu explains

Artists can help us guide towards a new reality. They always give us new insights on the world we seem to take for granted. So did Luis Xertu. And we didn’t even know it! It shows the meaning of art in general and the unexpected added value of the KPMG Art Collection to our daily life.

In 2004 Luis Xertu came to live in Netherlands, where he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2009. Xertu has been nominated for the Royal Award for Modern Painting 2019 and was awarded the Audience Prize. His artworks have been shown in the Dutch pavilion of the Venice Biënnale and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

Column #6: bought for corporate collection, Vincent Uilenbroek

As an art advisor I frequently visit(ed) art fairs. The time that we could visit large scale and crowded events seems like ages ago. Last February the KPMG Art Committee visited Art Rotterdam, the main artfair in The Netherlands for contemporary art. More than 80 different (intern)national galleries present hundreds of artists in The Van Nellefabriek. Ten-thousands art lovers visit it, it is packed, 1,5 meter distance is unthinkable. How will an artfair look like in the near future?

This year we bought two paintings of Vincent Uilenbroek at the artfair. I asked Vincent about the technique he uses and how he feels as an artist in this Corona crisis.

Vincent Uilenbroek, Ghost Image After Glow #7

The work of Vincent Uilenbroek (Haarlem 1980) is based on the process of making an artwork and the residue that it leaves behind. The hierarchy of form and residue is twisted around. That what is normally regarded irrelevant such as traces of painterly is made important and with it, it forms a new abstract language.

Vincent Uilenbroek, Ghost Image After Glow #12

Vincent explains: “The traces of paint on the studio wall for example. A white negative space is left behind when a canvas is removed. But also ink left in a screen when the job is done making screen prints, leaving a ghost image of the printed template. In my Ghost Image After Glow series, I combine these two elements. The work has a certain volume of past, present and future in it. Maybe a beginning, maybe an end but by looking into the silkscreen you enter a mental space. Its filled and empty in the same time.”

Vincent Uilenbroek portret

I asked Vincent how he copes with the Corona crisis. He noticed that the art world is searching how to deal with this new situation. 

He says: “No doubt things will change but I hope artists, galleries, museums, art lovers and buyers will join forces to keep the art world alive. Online shows and art dealing is a way to reach the audience that is locked inside. Nevertheless not every artwork has the same aura on photo or laptop screen. In the end seeing a work of art in real life is telling you so much more.”

“Besides my artistry I try to reach people with art online as owner of Studio Onvervalst. It is a platform where I make accessible screen prints for a broader audience working with renowned artists. Lately I printed a screen print by Joost Swarte that he designed for a local radiomarathon dealing with Corona in these times. The money raised selling the prints was donated to the Red Cross.”

“I hope we can stay strong together. Maybe art can unite us and inspires us coping the crises we are in today.”

Vincent Uilenbroek, Flux #8 (bought for private collection)

At the end of 2020 their is a new solo show of Vincent’s work planned at Gallery Dudokdegroot in Amsterdam.

(Jacko Brinkman, April 2020)

Column #4: bought for corporate collection, Inez de Brauw

During the Corona crisis a lot of people work from their home. Since they are not in the office and cannot enjoy the artworks in their working environment, one of my clients asked me to write a short story about the works of one of the artists from their collection. This week: Inez de Brauw.

As an art advisor I scout on many different places to find the best artists for the collection of my clients. The Open Studios of The Rijksakademie is one of them. In 2016 I discovered the work by Inez de Brauw (1989) and bought this great triptych of 180×405 cm.

Inez de Brauw, Black and white interior, series Ornament and crime 2016, 30 x 180, 250 x 180, 120 x 180 cm, oil, acrylics and spray paint on canvas

Last week I called Inez and asked her about the meaning of being admitted to The Rijksakademie and the importance of an acquisition of a corporate collection. During our conversation we also discussed the consequences of the Corona crisis to her work. 

Being admitted to The Rijksakademie is something very special to an artist. Only a few (25 world wide, half of them Dutch) of the hundreds of applications are selected to this two year residency.

From the Rijksakademie website: The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam focuses on developing talent in the fine arts. We select and facilitate top talent and offer selected artists a platform for further development of their work. Presentation of the work and connections to an international network form a part of the two-year residency program. For many alumni the residency has led to their international breakthrough.

Detail of work

Inez emphasized the fact that she was able to experiment with all different techniques and materials, that she was connected to a broad international network and surrounded by experts on all different areas, as the main accelerators in her career. She got access to the international art world. Every year more than 8000 art lovers and all the key players like gallery owners, collectors and curators visit the open studios to see the work of the artists. Inez appointed that even today, 3 years later, The Rijksakademie still feels like a family she can rely on. 

Another confidence boost was the acquisition of her work by a main corporate collection. This means more visibility, top quality presentation next to other wel established artists and a quality mark for your work. It happens quite often that a collection will follow your work and buy other pieces in the future and it sure can help persuade other buyers to do the same. An acquisition is very important for an artist, not just in euros, but in a lot more. 

Inez de Brauw

Eventually we asked Inez how she felt about the Corona crisis for her work as an artist. Like for the most of us, this is a harsh time for her. She cannot find the inspiration nor the peace and space in her head to focus on her work. An artist needs space to find subtlety and reflection. That is hard when the world is on fire. On the short-term, Inez is happy to have enough assignments to get through. She is very aware that this does not count for most of her colleague artists and she is uncertain about what the future will bring. This crisis will hit the artworld hard. Like it happened after 2008, maybe even worse.

Inez de Brauw, White noise

Column #3: bought for corporate collection, Dana Lixenberg

During the Corona crisis a lot of people work from their home. Since they are not in the office and cannot enjoy the artworks in their working environment, one of my clients asked me to write a short story about the works of one of the artists from their collection. This week: Dana Lixenberg, “Imperial Courts”

Dana Lixenberg, Chin and his daughter Dee Dee, 1993

In the entrance hall of this company there are four photographs. Black and white pictures, a girl standing on a crossroad, a giant tree, a deserted birthday party and a father with his baby daughter on his lap. At first glance they seem to be random pictures of daily life scenes.

Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts

These pictures are part of a giant project by well known Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg (1964). During a period of 22 years (1995 – 2015) Lixenberg portrayed the people of Imperial Courts, a public housing project, built in Watts, a district of Los Angeles. This is the area where in 1992 riots broke out after four LAPD police officers were acquitted of the brutal beating of Rodney King, a black taxi driver. The same streets were also the battleground of a bloody conflict between two gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, until they agreed on a truce in 1993.

It was in this year Dana got in contact with Tony Bogard’s, the leader of the PJ Watts Crips gang. He introduced her to the neighborhood and gradually she won the trust of the residents of Imperial Courts. Dana remained in contact with the community and continued her work between 2008 and 2015.

Dana Lixenberg

On http://www.imperialcourtsproject.com you find a web documentary by Dana Lixenberg and Eefje Blankevoort about Imperial Courts, with contributions by its residents. The project involves besides the photographs a 300 page book and a triple-screen video installation of 69 minutes. This video was exhibited (18 Jan – 10 May 2020) at The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and was acquired to the museum collection.

Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts book

If you want more information about these works or art in your office, please contact me by email: info@jackobrinkman.nl

Sources:  Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts 1993 – 2015, Roma Publications Amsterdam, Huis Marseille, Dana Lixenberg, Imperial Courts, 1993–2015, 12.12.2015 — 06.03.2016