THEO DERKSEN 

STORYTELLING | PHOTOGRAPHY AND AUDIO VISUAL DESIGN

My art work is in national and international, private as well as corporate collections.

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Selection: The Kodak archives USA, Polaroid Corporation photography collection, Bibliotheque National Paris Fr, Foreign photographers Moravian Museum Brno Cz. Collection Scheringa NL, Museum More Gorsel NL. Swinnen collection Be, Andries collection Be, Van Hoef collection NL, Fine Art Collection Weert. City Collection Yuhang/Hangzhou China and many more personal and company collections. 

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My photographs are not assembled nor Photoshopped. 

Photoshop is only used as a digital darkroom.

OorzaakGevolg

PAIN ON THE WALL

What happens when a painter decides to start an exchange project with a photographer?

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Drs. R. Hoekstra, Curator Museum Roermond

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Van Hoef's work is under development, yet he wanted a new impulse. The process in painting usually takes place in the isolation of the studio. There the impressions and ideas are processed in a specific theme, with a specific technique. The development consists in that the theme and technique are tried out, improved, slightly modified and repeated again. Until the theme has been worked out in that particular way, it has been completed and there is nothing left to add. And then - sometimes with a long interruption - something new comes about. And the process starts again. In his progress, painting is actually varying on a theme. Many painters work in series, or there is a certain 'period' in their work afterwards.

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Van Hoef was looking for a break through of this cycle. He sought an artistic impulse from outside. It is improvised as music with more musicians: the pattern is fixed, at least one knows each other's background, repertoire and often the way of playing. Within that pattern of the more or less familiar, an unpredictable result develops because the musicians react to each other and that result is richer than when playing solo.

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Something similar is involved in the project of the painter Marcel van Hoef and the photographer Theo Derksen. Marcel van Hoef has known the photographer Theo Derksen for some time. Derksen took care of him, among other things, the photography of the catalog of his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Roermond in 2003.

The procedure they have followed is special. Each started at the same time with a work. The one with a photo, the other with a painting. Then they gave this work to each other with a request for a response. And they have exchanged this reaction again and they have asked for a reaction, and so on. They have taken three months for that. This resulted in two series of 16 works consisting of 8 photos and 8 paintings in four years.

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Life as if you are always on the road

Marcel van Hoef and Theo Derksen make their art from a common base, reality shows itself to them as an image, something to look at. The painter and photographer make a selection from this. Both place reality in a framework. And in the selection they have a shared predilection that you could call a common theme: that is the question of what change is.

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For van Hoef, that is the fascination for metamorphosis, the slow, sometimes sudden, transformation of a place. He named the exhibition and catalog of 2003 Genius

Loci, the spirit or nature of the place: it is true that things can change at or in one place, but there remains a certain kind of presence. Shadows often appear in his paintings, which, if you look at them, give the impression of the moment and at the same time suggest a standstill of time, the time is frozen in it or solidifies. But shadows do not stand still, they are on the contrary very temporary, shadows literally change within a minute. The gardens, the fragments or the cut-outs of a built-up environment or a landscape, all of them frozen are at least silent, almost immobile. The experience of time or its absence is his theme.

Theo Derksen shares with Marcel the fascination for change. He travels a lot, his photography bears witness to that. Yet his photography is not a documentary travel report. It is wonder. Not the surprise of the tourist "look at something weird, very different from us", but the wonder of a child who sees and does not attach a meaning to it, but who is already looking very lightly wondering what this may be and continues to do without giving an equal answer. The child has the wondered look.

We see people in Derksen's photography in situations that are not specific to one specific place. You do not know what or where it is. And even on closer inspection, an unambiguous meaning is to be expected. The effect is that you keep looking. Like a child. That is how Theo Derksen looks. He looks as if he is traveling, even when he is at home. It is an art to live as if one is always traveling. Meanings are not fixed, but shift. They change over time, but also by changing places, by traveling. Opening yourself up to a world in which meanings change, that seems to be what Derksen poses to himself and the viewer. The combination, I would like to say the combination, with the painting of Marcel van Hoef reinforces the searching and questioning character of his photography.

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Drs. R. Hoekstra, Curator Museum Roermond

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Visual dialogue in the World City

Prof. dr. Dr. Willem Elias.

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One of the most beautiful things in cultivated culture, that is to say, this culture which is beyond usefulness and is no longer responsible for the (sur) livelihood, is the relationship, the smeared collision, between sign systems. The most classic place for this is undoubtedly the smithy between word and image. Illustrations for stories. Legends with the image. As miniatures or in small print, there is always a tension between two worlds, with their own character characters, in which both want the same or complement each other in full awareness of failed infinity. In short, comparable with the eroticism of Sisyphus, albeit in the existentialist interpretation of Albert Camus. He does not make this hero a vertex of senselessness, but a humanistic imagery for the searching man who does his thing over and over again. To try to understand the world through various media, complementary, reinforcing or contradictory, affirming or denying, time and again. Knowing that language and image never coincide, however great the desire is. Remember, the erotic with which I associated Sisyphus.

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This mating dance has an ancient history. It is part of the renewal in the arts to do the same through other media than the classical language / image division. From the ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk of Wagner to one of the main rules of postmodernism, art has tried to test the richness of the cross between media. It is to this that painter Marcel van Hoef and photographer, Theo Derksen have contributed. What they already have in common is a love for traveling. Not as a tourist flight from their own region with known customs and habits, but as a passion to get to know other countries and cultures, as food for themselves and therefore for their artistic oeuvre. The journey has an important place in the thinking of man. It is the discovery of the other. The realization that your own culture and its associated values ​​are only place and time-bound. Changing space allows us to experience time. Although the journey gets to know the other, the journey results precisely in that man gets to know himself. The step to the outside world involves a search for the inner world.

 

Both artists have something in common in their travel preference. There are two possible purposes for foreign curiosity: the unseen, preferably untouched nature or the unprecedented, preferably bizarre, culture. Marcel van Hoef and Theo Derksen, each on their own, opt for the strangeness of the culture.

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Complex choice since culture is human nature. And indeed they always emphasize the urbanness of the urban. Nature is only called "landscape" when it is possible to describe a number of repetitive characteristics, if not for example "wilderness". In fact, both artists are fascinated by nature that is order - nobody says "that mountain is wrong" - and "the culture that wants to be order". The culture is the loser in this camp. Becoming become in the culture. And this degeneration can be oh so beautiful. The return to nature.

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They share an opinion in which they differ from the tourist. The latter wants to see and experience something different, the so-called "typical": mussels with local beer in Brussels, friends with young people in Amsterdam, French cheese with a vin du pays in Paris, sauerkraut with sausage in Berlin, to get some examples from to give the environment. The travel guides are full of them.

Marcel van Hoef and Theo Derksen are just in the other direction.

What they envisage are not the small differences, but the great similarities. It is not the nationalities or, even less, the regionalities they are on the track. Well the similarities, the things that people meet everywhere, the spaces that can not be accommodated, the person who is the basis for the concept

"Humanism", fascinates them. One would almost mention the "universal" in culture. Their search fits into the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss when he stated that there are recurring structures in the cultures because culture is the result of the structures of the brain.

Theo Derksen brings along images of his world travels where no name can be stuck, unless: man in his created space. This displacement is both

soothing and confusing. "Where am I?", Frightens when no reply follows. It reassures us when people realize that the whole world is our home.

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Marcel van Hoef paints spaces in his brightly lit studio, made by man-made architectures, in which the emptiness meets you. Here again, alienating surrender, unless one understands the often absence of people as openness to enter these places in the imagination.

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I hope that I have conceptualized a basis on how it is that both artists, after their journeys, physical or inner, have put together an image puzzle.

For four years they have exchanged an image every three months, one a painting, the other a photo.

Two "nuclear reactors", as it were, in which each of them gave a retort to the other image as well as added signs, whether or not to interpret as messages. The series of sixteen paintings and the same number of photographs

alternating images with as general characteristics that one must at least two, but usually several times

look, to see if one has to do with a photo or with a painting. With a van Hoef or a Derksen to say it with a metonymie. Putting the gaze on the wrong leg - yes the eye has legs - makes the series fascinating.

Do not ask me to tell the story. It is not a cartoon, by the way. It is a picture change with the enriching imperfections included. The written language has the danger to construct reality as a smooth, smooth-stroked, interlocking of overlapping elements that lead to a continuous whole. Ready. Grammar and rhetoric help with this. The deconstruction thinking of Derrida has made it clear to us by pointing out that a text is full of holes and seams and produces an infinite chain of meanings. The image change of Derksen and van van Hoef does not end that danger. Their images remain images. They do not form a sequence, that is, a well-founded order in a context, ready to be used as an intelligence test: "which picture does not fit in the series?".

All images are possible images, i.e. they refer to an absence of alternatives. This does not alter the fact that the images have been carefully chosen in their coincidence. "Choosing" is the most important word in culture. This can clearly be seen from his La-tine lineage: selection, collection, but especially intellect. Both artists show us that choice that is possible, but not arbitrary: nor necessary. That's why it's so open.

It became a semiotic splinter bomb, a sign rain.

A good example of image - intertextuality: one is in the other and the other is back in the other and so on. And every image itself refers to so many others. The plural of one remains unity, that of the other becomes multiplicity. The image change is open to an infinity of stories.

Here the language comes up again! Possibly in the form of inner monologues. Whisper-able in someone else's ears.