Today i added a book on Hendrik Kerstens to my inventory. At first glance you see a classic portrait , but when you follow his works through several decades, you note 3 elements in the photograph. The model is in most cases Paula, his daughter , who progresses in age, and looks when getting older ….more and more like a “dutch Golden Age” figure by Johannes Vermeer. Secondly the props within the photograph ( mainly hats ) are common household items. Blankets, plastic bags, empty tin cans ….all have a function within the portrait. Modern elements making a classic portrait of a beautiful woman. Hendrik Kerstens is now also represented in the US and his name as an important dutch photographer is now established among the great dutch photographers from his generation.
‘HENDRIK KERSTENS DID NOT TRAIN FORMALLY AS AN ARTIST. HOWEVER, HE WISHED TO DEVOTE HIMSELF TO A MORE CREATIVE PROFESSION AND IN 1995, AT THE AGE OF FORTY, HE LEFT THE BUSINESS WORLD AND TOOK UP PHOTOGRAPHY. HIS WIFE ANNA WORKED FULL TIME TO SUPPORT THIS CHANGE OF DIRECTION. IN A REVERSAL OF MORE TRADITIONAL ROLES, KERSTENS CARED FOR THEIR YOUNG DAUGHTER PAULA, WHILE ALSO STUDYING PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE DAY. HAVING A CHILD LEFT A DEEP IMPRESSION ON KERSTENS. THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY, HE EXPLORED THE ACCOMPANYING FEELINGS OF RESPONSIBILITY, VULNERABILITY AND LOVE HE FELT TOWARDS HIS DAUGHTER, STARTING WITH DOCUMENTARY FAMILY SNAPSHOTS.
AS PAULA PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY GREW, KERSTENS SEARCHED FOR AN ARTISTIC MANIFESTATION OF THESE CHANGES, LEADING TO HIS INTERPRETATIONS OF THE GREAT DUTCH MASTER PAINTERS OF THE 17TH CENTURY WITH PAULA AS HIS MUSE.’
EXCERPT FROM AN ESSAY BY MARTIN BARNES, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON
this book is now availabel at www.ftn-books.com
A logical combination!
Honestly… i must say that i had not heard from both, but because we were traveling a few weeks ago Wageningen ( Hotel de Wereld) and visited the local museum HET DEPOT, in which sculptures related to the human body are exhibited, we came across Joost Barbiers’s his work. Immediately , me and Linda liked it very much. The use of material which is left unworked and partly rough and in most cases in the same sculpture is polished in other parts ,is beautiful.
The museum HET DEPOT itself can be highly recommended too, but i will discuss this in another blog.
After a few days we came home and i contacted through the site of Joost Barbiers (http://www.joostbarbiers.nl) the artist and was replied by his wife who told me that Joost had passed away in November 2015 and that all of his remaining works were exhibited in LAD/ Land Art Delft ( http://www.landartdelft.nl ). This announcement came as a shock, because we did not expect that, but we also learned that the remaining works from his studio were transported to LAD .
Another great project of which i had never heard before. Included in the mail was an invitation to attend the opening of the exhibition of Joost Barbiers, but because of a tight time schedule on that Sunday i could not attend, so i decided to go early and visit LAD. What a nice surprise!….. a landscape with wild flowers, birds and Land Art makes this a beautiful place to visit, experience great art and….walk the dog. The statues of Barbiers are presented in the best possible way in these surroundings and show why this artist is one to have a bigger audience. Rough and cultivated go hand in hand and these sculptures blend into the landscape as if these sculptures have always been there.
Besides the sculptures by Barbiers ( ca. 20 sculptures ) many other can be found there because LAD has a program with artists in residence who work there and leave there sculptures behind.
Conclusion….do not visit Delft solely to see the original scenery of Vermeer, but visit Land Art Delft too and be amazed by the Barbiers sculptures.