Painter Pieter jan Martyn (BE, 1986) is an artist who conducts thorough historical research and knows which series he will be making in the coming years. For his first exhibition at Frank Taal Gallery, Martyn wanted to find out what he would paint if he could get rid of all the preparation and baggage. He relinquished control and his consciousness by collaborating with a well-known hypnotist. "A confronting experience," said Martyn.
In the past Martyn made series about the Red Army Faction, the Gang of Nivelles and the Nuremberg Processes. Historical documents, such as well-known press photos, were always his starting point for his paintings. Iconic photos familiar to most of us. Initially, Martyn imitates them, but gradually he combines the factual with the fictional. For example, he stages images that use the same formal aesthetics as the press photos to provide possible scenarios about moments before or after.
For each series Martyn collaborates with someone from a different field. For his series about the Gang of Nivelles, a controversial series of unsolved robberies and murders from the 1980s, he collaborated with investigative journalist Jonas Bruyneel. The collaboration resulted in new perspectives that were later investigated by the police. For his gallery exhibitions in Germany, Martyn collaborated with critics and curators. An interaction from which resulted in the themes of his subsequent exhibitions. For his first show in the Netherlands, Martyn was allowed a free hand and decided to find out what he would paint from his subconscious mind.