NELLEKE BELTJENS, HEDWIG BROUCKAERT, JORINDE VOIGT
Kuratiert von Peter Lodermeyer
Fotos obere Reihe und unten rechts: © 2011 Virginie Schreyen
RE/PRO/DUCING COMPLEXITY presents drawings and drawing-related works by three young women artists from three European countries: Nelleke Beltjens (* 1974, the Netherlands), Hedwig Brouckaert (* 1973, Belgium), and Jorinde Voigt (*1977, Germany).
The fact that our world is characterized by rapidly increasing complexity manifests itself not only in such important sectors as the economy, science and technology, where even experts have trouble keeping abreast of developments. The growth of complexity may be felt on down into our daily lives, affecting all areas of life. This constitutes at once both enrichment and mental overload, a broadening of our horizons and a loss of orientation. Beltjens, Brouckaert, and Voigt address this theme of complex and intricate reality and the perception of it, each using their own means.
Nelleke Beltjens understands her drawings as metaphors for the incomprehensibility of life, human existence and its conditions. Her first series of large-format drawings already bears the theme of this exhibition in its title: “Complex”. Essentially, these drawings consist of freely and intuitively placed balls of lines, which, due to their condensations and dispersions have an atmospherically cloudy look in a drama of light and dark. Among the basic principles of her subsequent series is the fragmenting of the line, which is questioned as a fundamental drawing element, the artist breaking it up into numerous short marks that stand perpendicular to the extension of the line, thus transforming it into a rhythmic structure. Due to the polyphonic effects of their colors, the drawn forms become even more intangible, evoking emotions best described by comparing them with music.
Hedwig Brouckaert works with redundant visual material, such as that disseminated by the mass media, which she alienates and “neutralizes” with her selections and layerings. In her more recent works, for example, the motif of women’s hair repeatedly occurs. In women’s magazines, mail-order catalogues, and in advertisements, long, voluptuous hair always stands as a sign of female health, beauty, and attractiveness. Because Hedwig Brouckaert isolates this motif, traces it, and reconstructs it in dense overlayings to form new combinations or digital alienations, it becomes abstract, and in this way, evokes entirely new meanings. The hair appears on Brouckaert’s large-format drawings scattered across the page like landscape elements, or floating like clouds. In the spectacular window installation in the entrance area of the museum, however, it seems like incessantly rampant, almost eerie weaves of lines.
In diagram-like drawings, Jorinde Voigt develops new structures of order and relationships between selected areas of reality, creating spaces for the viewer’s imagination in this way. For the exhibition at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, mostly works have been selected, which deal with the theme of the horizon and, with their bundles of colored lines, facilitate a formal comparison with the works by Nelleke Beltjens and Hedwig Brouckaert. In her works, Jorinde Voigt makes a theme of possible perceptual experiences. By drawing the horizon precisely not as a horizontal, but an irregular line, she suggests movement on the part of the viewer. The multitude of the colored lines running parallel to one another indicates numerous possible colors of the horizon (such as caused by changing light and weather conditions). The drawings are not representations of the real; rather they are score-like notations of possible or imagined perceptions.
As different as the respective artistic approaches of the three woman artists are, they are equally highly complex, in keeping with the famous statement by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann who said: “Only complexity can reduce complexity.” Art historian Peter Lodermeyer (Bonn, Germany) is the curator of the exhibition.