I Want to Breathe Modern Air
Omar Koubâa, Claus Hugo Nielsen and Peter Vos.
November 12 - February 25, 2023
In many ways, our present time is eerily similar to a repeat of the last century. There are also parallels and similarities in cultural-historical and artistic terms. Although progress optimism still prevails - then industrialization would bring salvation, now information technology - there is also a countermovement. It manifests itself in a revaluation of the traditional and the physical. Not in a nostalgic way, but as a pass on the rat race that drags us along and can make us forget who we are.
The work of Omar Koubâa, Claus Hugo Nielsen and Peter Vos exudes the atmosphere and spirit of the modern era, even before decay set in and the idea of linear development landed on the garbage heap of history. There is a robust confidence in one's own ability, a conscious slowing down of action and a deepening of concentration. At the same time, the world anno now - like the interwar period - feels like a vestibule, an interim with an uncertain future. But instead of losing themselves in potentially disastrous vistas, these artists choose to reconsider being in the present time by focusing on the creative process that is an expression of that same being.
For Omar Koubâa, interacting with the material is a digging into his own soul. In his paintings, which balance on the border between figurative and abstract, the pigment swirls in a visual language that seems fragmented yet coherent. They sometimes seem like landscapes, but of the fantastic kind, through which the spirit blows. Koubâa works intuitively and in a state of light trance. This tension is also palpable in his painting, which establishes a direct and physical relationship with the viewer with its rhythmic, brief touches.
Claus Hugo Nielsen's sculptures tie in with the formal language of Omar Koubâa - but also, for example, Max Ernst - in that they are not rectilinear and unambiguous, but rather round and ambiguous. His figures exude a certain humanity, no matter how surreal they look. This is due to their enormous tactility, which invites connection. At the same time, they open a door to the world of the subconscious, and the fears, desires and lust that simmer on a level that even the most advanced supercomputer cannot add up.
Peter Vos's paintings direct your gaze, you are stared at by eyes of animals and especially birds. They are the protagonists and made with great precision and dedication. Over the years Vos developed a unique painting style in which he applies subtle color nuances with thin layers of oil paint. The large areas of color and geometric shapes in all his works reflect an emphasis on painting as such. A world of serene motionlessness and stillness appears. With Vos, too, you are taken back to other times, where painters such as Floris Verster and Jan Mankes created depths of 'stillness'.