Daan den Houter is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist. The visual language he uses to externalize his ideas varies from video, installation, and sculpture to activities where he allows the public to become part of the artwork. Money, identity, art, its granted value and generally accepted perceptions of these themes are what Den Houter’s work evolves around.
Den Houter observes society as a participant, then takes a step aside, analyses it, and touches a raw nerve by doing so.
The last decade Daan den Houter has invariably managed to put his growing group of admirers on the wrong track. He has an unerring sense of aesthetics, which ensures the first draft of attention and keeps it there. But primarily Den Houter is a conceptual artist. The layers of his art function like a slight slope - while the spectator at first finds himself staggering, subsequently he regains his balance.
To activate the viewer's thinking about important topics like money, identity, and values, Den Houter processes humor and sometimes cynicism in his images. The multidisciplinarity of his work shows how much the actual appearance is subordinate to the concept. Not the perfect picture, but the conceptual elaboration is always the starting point of his work.
His work controls and manipulates. Confusion and disturbance are what is left. And maybe eventually a new insight is adopted in the way we assume certain things to be true.
FLASH-BACK shows the documentary about his 8-hour drawing factory for which he hired workers to literally turn their working time into drawings consisting of 8 simple lines. Part of his ongoing series of 8-hour drawings that he has been working on since 2002; this drawing consisting of 8 simple lines that he puts down on paper during a working day. Signed and dated on that day, on which he took an hour over each line. The series is complete when he has finally drawn every date of the year. With the 8-hour drawing factory, Den Houter generated six drawings in one day without putting a line down on paper himself.
The last 3 years den Houter is working on ice-paintings. These paintings exist of frozen paint, when shown, they slowly melt, ending in a pool of paint on the floor, leaving a trace on the wall. The paintings transform during their existence in shape and color. They drip and thus make a sound. The composition of the painting is made using different techniques. Different colors on top of each other, transparency of layers and the viscosity of the paint all add to the final image and transformation of the melting painting. With a series of small paintings together a bigger painting is created where each individual painting influences the other ones.
The paintings are confronting the audience with something elusive. As a sunset in the sky, always changing beautiful but impossible to catch. It’s distorting and comforting at the same time. Almost unsellable, but it is as a very exclusive experience; an artwork only to be witnessed by the buyer. Shared with others or consumed individually.
The paintings from the series Stripes (2018 - ongoing) seem to be a cross-section of many painted layers. One thinks one sees a stripes painting: nicely glossy, smooth polished and colorful is the surface of epoxy resin. There is a variation in the width of the stripes and you can choose from two formats. What you don't see, however, is the extraordinarily laborious process. For each individual color a groove is milled into a wooden board, filled with pigmented resin, which then has to dry and can be polished. The stripes are not too tight; they look like strings of toothpaste with round ends and seem to lie loosely over each other. The colors are distributed in such a way that they reinforce each other and have a sparkling effect.