We are eagerly looking forward to producing exhibitions again and to welcoming the public back to the gallery. Who wouldn’t want to be surprised, disconcerted, stunned and enfolded by the imaginations of such peerless artists?
We are proud to present a stunning survey exhibition of paintings from the 1970s by Jaap Berghuis (1945 – 2005), an artist highly regarded by connoisseurs and curators but still sadly unfamiliar to the generality of art-lovers. We hope to achieve a rapid change in that situation now that his estate has granted us permission to represent his rich legacy.
As a leading figure in the fundamental painting movement of the early 1970s, Berghuis was a member of an international group of artists who took painting in a radical new direction. Painters like Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin and Brice Marden took as their subject the actual visual means at a painter’s disposal. They focused their attention explicitly on format, colour, form, texture, materials and techniques. The resulting paintings were anti-illusionistic, frequently monochrome and devoid of compositional elements.
In the early 1970s, Berghuis had reinvented himself. The act of painting and overpainting layers of paint had become his subject. Everything happened within the space of the square canvas, using a monochrome palette, generally grey or dirty white. All with the intention of expressing nothing other than movement and materiality. And the change brought success: Berghuis won immediate international recognition and guaranteed his place in art history as a pioneer of fundamental painting.
Everything you see in these paintings seems to loom out of a concealed nothingness, as if the secrets of painting were jealously preserved within them. For a romantic like Berghuis, the tension between the revealed and the unrevealed is an endless playground in which anything can appear and disappear. Something and nothing, as he himself said. You feel his pleasure and his need to paint. Producing his pictures in a trance, like a true performance artist, touching the canvas with every self-confident gesture but leaving no discernible trace of sentiment.