Marc Mulders' work addresses two poles: poetry, light and vista, as well as delimitation and darkness. Both aspects are reflected in the exhibition. Both in his own work and in the choice of work by the other artists.
At Kunsthal KAdE, Marc Mulders brings together his oeuvres on glass, canvas and paper. In the main hall, Mulders has created an arrangement of his circular glass work - a 'starry sky' of moons, snails and crowns of thorns - combined with drawings on the wall. In this room and the halls and cabinets around it, a selection of works by artists past and present who inspire Mulders or whom he admires are on display. Among them several abstract working artists. For the first time, this element in Mulders' oeuvre is emphatically highlighted.
The artists selected by Marc Mulders are:
Erik Andriesse (NL, 1957-1993) | Balthasar Burkhard (CH, 1944-2010) | Tessa Chaplin (NL, 1991) | Toshio Enomoto (JP, 1947) | Anne Forest (US/ NL 1983) | Bram Hermens (NL, 1979) | Volker Hüller (DE, 1976) | Natasja Kensmil (NL, 1973) | Wolfgang Laib (DE, 1950) | Couzijn van Leeuwen (NL, 1959) | Jan Koen Lomans (NL, 1978) | Fiona Mackay (UK, 1984) | Kenneth Noland (US, 1924-2010) | Jan Schoonhoven (NL, 1914-1994) | Maaike Schoorel (NL, 1973) | Alexander van Slobbe (NL, 1959) | Social label* (with design by Piet Hein Eek) | Josine Timmer (NL, 1982) | Bram van Velde (NL, 1895-1981) | Geer van Velde (NL, 1898-1977) | Evi Vingerling (NL, 1979) | Reinoud van Vught (NL, 1960) | Ronald Zuurmond (NL, 1964)
The composition of the list is diverse: contemporaries of Marc Mulders, icons from the past, current artists, young, recently graduated artists. Marc Mulders sees this stratification as essential to art discourse, which should not take place within limited frameworks or agendas, but should have a generous and broad stage.
In his recent series of works, Marc Mulders is increasingly moving toward "the enlightened," the timeless, the abstract. After zooming in on elements of nature such as flowers and animals, he now turns his sights to the all-encompassing nature of the landscape in all its ethereal elusiveness. Mulders looks beyond the detail to the sensation of a diffuse overall picture emerging on the horizon of a landscape. What remains is the searching manner of painting, but the palette tends more and more toward white and lighter colors, and the representations are less concretely recognizable.
The title of the exhibition - "Windows" - refers to the stained glass windows that Mulders has been making for fifteen years, to the classic idea of a painting as a window to a new (ethereal) reality, to Marc Mulders' take on the oeuvres of others, but also to the architecture of the main hall in the new Kunsthal KAdE, in which shutters along all walls provide views into rooms and cabinets.
Marc Mulders' new series of paintings is heavily influenced by his work on stained glass windows. Those windows in the 1990s were a logical extension of the paintings Mulders had been making since the 1980s. In the windows, Mulders uses the same themes, lyricism and attention to detail as in his paintings, but with the added value of light shining through them from behind, bringing the depiction to life. As an extension of the stained glass windows, Mulders has also been using glass more autonomously as a support for paintings for some time. In particular, convex, circular sheets of glass often figure in his recent work. They come to speak on a flat wall through the (daylight) that falls on them from the front.
An exciting dialogue has developed with Marc Mulders between the oeuvre on glass and the oeuvre on canvas. In the windows, the glass surface as support is a natural means of allowing light to play a role in the representation, both by allowing transparency and by painting parts closed. 'Light' has been a motif for painters for centuries. Both to capture it, and to allow it to play a role within a representation on a more metaphysical level. Within stained glass - traditionally used in churches - 'light' has strong religious connotations, which Mulders also plays with emphatically. On canvas, Mulders plays with the idea of 'light' by leaving passages unpainted, so that 'blind spots' are created between the otherwise layered touches of paint, acting as 'backlight'.
Next to these are the collages, masks, drawings and photomontages, in which Mulders mixes images from reality with images full of symbolic meanings. This combination charges the artist with (moral) reflections on "good and evil. They are abstracted phenomena that play a conscious or unconscious role through all questions of life.
Both elements - light & transparency, collage & compression - are going to come to the fore in the exhibition. Also in dialogue with other artists. Painters such as Kenneth Noland, Jan Schoonhoven and sculptor Wolfgang Laib emphasize the abstract side of Mulder's recent oeuvre. On view is Laib's pollen quadrant from Museum De Pont in Tilburg, Kenneth Noland's an almost four-foot-wide abstract painting. While the linear and ordered in their work receives a more intuitive translation in seemingly chaotic strokes of paint with Mulders, all strive in their own way to sublimate reality. These elements can also be found in the work of contemporary artists such as Fiona Mackay, Evi Vingerling, Volker Hüller, Maaike Schoorel and Jan Koen Lomans.
Photographers like Balthasar Burkhard and Toshio Enomoto - like Mulders - put a "filter" over the landscape, giving it an abstract layer. Artists such as Natasja Kensmil, Ronald Zuurmond, Reinoud van Vught, Anne Forest and Couzijn van Leeuwen, like Mulders, explore the more dark or surreal sides of (human) nature.
In "Windows," KAdE's main hall is the heart of the exhibition. It acts as a 'village square' with tables by Social Label-Piet Hein Eek, where fruit can be consumed. 'Windows' brings together artists from multiple eras. There are classic moderns, artists from current discourse, artists Marc Mulders has collaborated with in recent decades (such as fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe), artists from a sheltered workshop and there are young artists whom Marc Mulders is mentoring in an "artist in residence" project at the Vincent van GoghHuis in Zundert. Also on display are vase designs from Frank van der Linden's project 'Vaasotheek'. A rich mix that results in an exhibition about painting in a broad perspective.
"I very clearly have a certain sound and atmosphere in mind for this exhibition. With all these artists, I have chosen specific work that I think fits into the whole. First, I choose the artist because I love the work, and then I chose from their vocabulary, from their oeuvre, precisely those works that can relate well to their colleagues in the atmosphere I intended.
I think it will be a total experience of going from dark to light. There will be a very dark room with heavier, little gothic paintings and there will be paintings about sunlight.
You just have to do your job. Don't come up with the fact that an artist has to show you something else in the world. I don't have to show you anything else, you see other things on TV or read about them. I want to please you, I want to present you with beauty. That beauty may be disruptive, or may even have a morbid side, or a rousing or sabotaging side, but it must always be in the service of a sincere pursuit of some kind of beauty. A kind of ordering. Yes 'healing' Then it's good. Then you get magic together and that does people good.
I believe an artist should decorate, I like to work with textiles, carpets, tables, linen, ceramics, stained glass. Your images should also just be on utilitarian objects.
This exhibition is also kind of about the rhythm of the day. Then you just do your thing, you decorate something."
For Marc Mulders, 'VENSTERS' is the final part of a triptych of solo exhibitions over 3 years about spirituality and art. The first exhibition was in 2012 'LOST FOR FAITH/RETURNED FOR BEAUTY' at the invitation of Guus Beumer in Marres Maastricht. This was followed in 2013 by the retrospective 'THE MOONLIGHT GARDEN' at the Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch.
The exhibition 'VENSTERS' is the opening exhibition of Kunsthal KAdE in the new Eemhuis. The Eemhuis is a cultural collector's building that includes, in addition to Kunsthal KAdE, the Eemland Library, Scholen in de Kunst and Archief Eemland. The Eemhuis was designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects in Rotterdam.