Jan ten Have and Pascal Bastiaenen. A "duo solo-exhibition" at gallery Frank Taal.
A Brand New Day
My paintings are the visual possibility of NON-Painting (and yet painting) for a new era. | NON-Painting is the evacuated circle of zero. | Similarly,
NUL - L'UN transforms zero into one and vice versa. – Jan ten Have
“The consequences of the economic crisis, the negative and populist tone in politics and the superficiality of selective hype-driven media hang over our country like a dark cloud.
The paintings by Pascal Bastiaenen (1981) emerge from comments on social-cultural and political issues. Sometimes these comments are depicted literally, at other moments his works have a more symbolic charge: a picturesque windmill on fire, or a dead-end forest with an obsolete playground device. The sketches for his paintings used to consist mainly of media images (composed in collage technique or not); currently he finds many of his sources in his daily environment. Several elements are combined here as well, but subtle, technically as well as concerning content.
That is why Pascal is hard to pigeonhole; he paints the Dutch landscape in a direct and sharp way, which is reminiscent of the Hague School. His dark work with the riot squad (see picture) brings to mind Caravaggio, and the dead-end forests remind you of the symbolic charge of the Romantic era. “I translate negative emotions into tangible aesthetics”. This is also what makes Bastiaenen such an interesting artist: he is a talented painter, his work is visually attractive. But at the same time it is confronting and engaging.
Because we are living in a time in which the individual takes centre stage and art is undervalued in the Netherlands, Bastiaenen’s engagement may not be in vogue. But it is precisely this fact that makes him unique. In the past years, the work of young Dutch painters raised much criticism among art critics: it would be decorative and devoid of meaning. Similar comments were made about the annual selection for the Dutch Royal Awards for Painting. So it is completely rightful that Pascal was nominated this year.
Text: Michiel van der Zanden, 2011
Translation: Sabrina van Veen, 2012