The Depths of a Purple Sea

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Fons Welters
The Depths of a Purple Sea

Bloemstraat 140
1016 lj Amsterdam
April 21st, 2012 - May 26th, 2012
Opening: April 21st, 2012 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Canal Girdle
(+31) 20 423 30 46
Tue-Sat 1-6
installation, sculpture


Playstation proudly presents ‘The Depths of a Purple Sea’, an exhibition by Dutch artist Vincent Verhoef. In Verhoef’s sculptures and installations, classic artistic materials such as marble, oil paint, copper and brass, are exposed to a repetitive process of aggressive and delicately controlled destruction. These materials – which are both blessed and tainted by history – are submitted to corrosive forces. Treated again and again, in the works of Verhoef, they now appear anew, revealing themselves as relics of an order whose symbols we’ve forgotten how to read. 

In ´Untitled´ (2012) a medical drip, filled with acid, slowly drops its poison on a marble plate. The violent chemicals patiently reach the pores of this vast and solid matter, eating their way through. In this battle of forces, the one never fully defeats the other as the process is suddenly restrained by the artist. Juxtaposing and completing the sculpture is a brass plate. The accelerated erosions on the marble – like artificial veins – are mirrored on the shiny surface of this brass plate, as if the landscape of destruction seeks perfection in a soft and sudden reflection.

In a series of small copper plates, acid is also carefully combined with carvings and a touch of oil paint, giving way to a different temporal rhythm of decay and now renewal. Where the poisonous acid lingered only long enough to leave a trace – a broken line on the marble – ; in the copper plates, the damage of time opens up a new pictorial space. Each carving reflects light differently, letting its newly born image mysteriously and almost physically hover above its actual surface. Here, the familiar is reintroduced through architectonic elements, animals and vegetation. A gentle calm image of a sleeping dog, a solitary tree, a pending egg or the stone of the emperor Heliogabalus. Neither an end, nor a beginning but an attempt enclosed in its proposition, they appear as symbols, carrying in their isolation a sense of inviolability.

[Laurie Cluitmans]

Vincent Verhoef (1982) lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied Art History at the University of Amsterdam and graduated from the department of Image and Language at the Rietveld Academy in 2010. His visual work has been exhibited in Rongwrong, De Brakke Grond, De Veemvloer and Pakhuis De Zwijger.