Erik de Bree

Since 2009, directly after graduating from Rietveld academy, I started working in series. Working in series helps me to get to the bottom of my fascination for a certain subject and explore it in it's full broadness.

Here I will give a short description of the series I have been working on since 2009.

I start in 2009 and talk my way towards the present, hopefully showing you a glimpse of how one series influences the next series and how the continuationing of the thought process works for me.

 

Everything started with the 'LANGOLIER PAINTINGS'.

This is a series that evolves around the principle of making a painting in the traditional way, finishing it, and when the point comes it would normally be considered to be 'done', start deconstructing it again. I investigate till what point an image stays 'readable'. Sometimes the removing of parts helps the image to get another layer. At other times the image alters completely into an abstract painting that has little to do with what the image has been before. It has become an echo, an abstraction of it's former self.

 

'IMPROVED PHOTOGRAPHS'

The improved photographs are basically my mixing boards. While working on a painting i have a stack of second hand nature books next to it. I mix my paints on them without paying attention to what kind of picture is on the page or what I am mixing on it. There is a rule i made with myself that i can never consciously alter the paint applied  on the page. In this way the picture is ensured to keep its high level of spontaneity. Nine out of ten times the mixing board ends up a mess, but sometimes, just sometimes the paints miraculously make a connection with the image it is mixed on. It deforms, conceals or alters the picture in a way I could've never made consciously.

 

'DAMAGED PHOTOGRAPHS'

Since i got interested in removing information from images i started to practice with found imagery. This resulted in a series of autonomous, small works in which i rip, wash, rub, crinkle and in other ways deform images.

 

'DOUBLE DAMAGED PHOTOGRAPHS'

During the making of the 'damaged photographs' I stumbled upon another technique. I found out that if a page has images on both sides, I can make the work together. On one side of the page, I remove half of the thickness of the paper, making certain parts more seetrough. If I then glue the paper to a light background and cover it in resin, the image that is on the back of the page soaks through to the front and mingles with the image on the front. These images work best when there are humans depicted in them, a sight that is rarely seen in my works.

 

'WALLPAPER PAINTINGS'

In 2012 I was looking for new ways to present my works. I thought it could be interesting if I would wallpaper a gallery, rip the wallpaper up again and then present my works on that surface. So I got some wallpaper and as a test wallpapered my studio. While working with it, i got intrigued by the painterly quality of the material. So i build a large panel, mimicking a wall. On that I made my first wallpaper painting; WP#1. After that a whole series followed and I am currently still experimenting with this new material.

 

'PATTERNS'

Working with the wallpaper, i was introduced to a lot of different patterns. The wallpaper came in all sorts of colors with patterns in all different shapes, graphic or otherwise. At the time I was thinking of a way to do something with paint again as well. I had seen an interesting technique that i decided to fool around with. I take a thick glass plate on which i apply a thick layer of acrylic paint, the base-layer. Then i cut a form out of the base-layer and peel the paint of off the glass. Say; a circle. If I then fill that circle-formed hole with another colour and I look at the other side of the glass plate i will see a rectangular layer of colour with another coloured circle in it. I then repeat this process with many different colours building up an image. Because of the different tensions of the different layers of paint, the forms start to warp, bleed under or into each other and sometimes 'bubble' up, forcing me to remove parts and reveal an unexpected form. When I at some point am satisfied with the result, i remove the entire painting from the glass and mount it on a panel.

 

'COMPOSITIONS'

The Compositions are based on the same principle as the patterns. However they have a slight different approach. At first, on a first, large glass plate, I make a skin out of acrylic. A large surface out of one colour. When it is dry, I cut and tear forms out of this skin and attach them to a second glass plate. I build up a composition pretty much like a traditional collage. When the composition is to my liking i fill up the rest of the space with another colour acrylic, thus creating the 'background'. I still can add shapes by once again, just like with the patterns, cutting out parts on the backside and filling them up with paint again. When the painting is done, i remove it from the glass plate and mount it on a panel.

 

'THE REMAINS OF THE DAY'


The two working processes described above do use up a lot of acrylic paint. In the process of working, i just stacked all the removed pieces of paint on top of each other. As the stack of colourfull skins grew it became more and more interesting so i decided to frame it as a painting and kept on adding giving it a sculptural quality. The title of the piece sums up exactly what it is. All the remaining pieces of the day, for many days, stacked on top of each other

 

'WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS'

I was thinking to myself; if i see my wallpaper works as paintings, what would a drawing look like? So i started painting sheets of paper, mixing them up with store-bought colourfull sheets and tried to relate to the traditional act of drawing within my line of work. Cutting into them with a knife and filling the cut with watered down ink resembled to me the traditional pencil-line. With the ripping, cutting, spraypainting, and smearing of ink, these works have become particularly rugged and rough and have a sketch-like quality to me.