Daan van Golden was born in Rotterdam in 1936 and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of the Fine Arts and Technical Sciences, where he specialised in painting and drawing. He lives and works in Schiedam in the Netherlands. An overview of his oeuvre was shown at the Camden Arts Centre in London in 2009 and was later on show in Geneva and Lisbon. The Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels also mounted a large retrospective exhibition of his work in 2012. We are delighted to be holding the first gallery exhibition by Daan van Golden in Switzerland.
Daan van Golden developed his style in Japan in 1963 and has adhered to it to this very day. Having previously painted abstract-expressionistic works, between 1963 and 1965 in Japan he refined a technique that involved Japanese enamel paints and enabled him to give his works an unimagined colourfulness and presence. He began painting textile and paper patterns with extreme precision and at an almost meditative speed. His models included tablecloths, fabrics and packaging. He generally focussed on everyday items which he experienced in his surroundings, transferring them to an artistic context in his unique way and thereby unifying life and art. He also varied the colour and size of one and the same motif which, through this kind of appropriation, took on a life of its very own. Later he used the same kind of variation and abstraction to produce enlarged details from, for example, works by Jackson Pollock or Henri Matisse. He also used the media of photography and silk-screen printing, and here too, varied and frequently reinterpreted details.
Van Golden is often linked with Pop Art, although the latter exhibits neither ironic distance from its motifs, nor an exaggeration of what is depicted. A comparison with Minimal Art also falls short, as van Golden’s works foreground the seriousness of his meditative, slow execution and are imbued with an individuality comparable more to the artistic positions of, for example, Paul Thek, Oyvind Fahlström or Dieter Roth.
Van Golden hovered between all these tendencies and positions and was frequently exhibited in the same context, to which he was considered to be formally suited. At the same time, he clearly pointed up the limits of the respective stylistic trend.
Our exhibition consists both of works dating from the 1970s onwards, and the new series “Double Prints”, photographs combining earlier works that link his paintings of grids, patterns and organic forms from the 1960s and 70s with the silhouette-like images from series such as “Heerenlux”. These small- to mediumsized photographs forge a link between van Golden’s early years and today. Complemented by photographs from the series “Youth is an Art”, taken of his daughter over the course of the years, the whole exhibition becomes a kind of summary of his artistic interests and his views of the world of everyday life and the world of art – his aim having always been to unite these.