Gerhard Hofland asked me to curate a show at his gallery space in Amsterdam and I immediately thought of making a show about painting.
I have been involved for ever so long with painting , falling in and out of love with it and in again.
The title of the show is Platinum Metre after an interview with Paolo Virno: The dismeasurement of art. In this interview he argues that every time art comes up with a new form, the old ways to measure this form don't function anymore: "It is as if the platinum metre bar kept in Paris to define the standard length of a metre suddenly measured 90 or 110 centimetres." Herein he sees a linkage between the artistic avant-garde and the radical social movement: "They both would like to explain that the old standards are no longer valid and to look for what might be new standards". "Avant-garde art proved the impotence, the inadequacy, the disproportion of the old standards through a formal investigation. The common ground of art and social movements is never about content". So for Virno the most revolutionary point in contemporary art is to be found in the formal side; for him this leads to ''new ways of living and feeling." I like this direct link in his thinking between living and feeling and the formal . Nowadays it seems that if you want your work to be seen as engaged with the world you have to use either a lot of black paint or be very clear and illustrative.
I first asked Wendy White whose work I like because of the empty unpainted canvas space in it and the intuitive and human approach to the whole idea of painting. That immediately brings me to Michiel Ceulers who also recently described paint as a humane material to work with and I asked my friend Bas van den Hurk whose work looks really improvised and nonchalant but is totally imbedded in a programmatic research of the autonomy of painting. All of them working consciously with ‘flaws’ and ‘ faults’ . In that way the ‘faults’ and ‘drips’ in the works of Roland de Bloeme and Tatjana Doll are not that far away although each of these artists work within a totally different idiom. Ronald mixing pop and hard edge and Tatjana using idols from art history and objects like cars and fire extinguishers. With their works I have a long relationship through our mutual friend Joep van Liefland and his art space Autocenter in Berlin. Ronald suggested to invite Olaf Holzapfel and through my friend Peter Fengler who runs artspace De Player in Rotterdam I came in contact with the work of Alivia Zivich and Nate Young.
I see all these artists connected in a way which is both formal and engaged, both humane and autonomous, totally full of life and platinum.
Koen Delaere 2010