Carlijn Mens



Preserved Places, Poplars (6-part)

2019 258 x 227 cm Charcoal on museum cardboard

Preserved Places, Roadside (Poppy)

2016 59.5 x 42 cm Charcoal on paper

Preserved Places, Roadside (Foxglove)

2016 59.5 x 42 cm Charcoal on paper

I walk therefore I am

2015 cm Ink on paper

Biography of Carlijn Mens

what is the reality of a shadow? it is there and yet it is not. shadow has no substance. it needs substance and light, and then it is there. the shadow is the result of a process in which we play a part. (from a piece by herman de vries about the work of Carlijn Mens, 2011)

Over a period of more than ten years Carlijn Mens (*1972) has made the shadow the most important subject in her oeuvre. The shadow interests Carlijn even more than the 'original' and certainly when the light source is the sun, the shadow will move along with the sun and this movement is something the artist makes stunningly visible on the paper. She has to work fast in order to set down in charcoal the shadows of tree or plant; to fix, as it were, the motion.

The woods and dunes at Schoorl have been 'portrayed' by her in this way. The devastating forest fires a few years ago have left their mark - and shadows. Carlijn has recorded them in her series ‘Preserved Places’. A particularly dramatic study by Carlijn was ‘Faith, Fear, Face’, in response to the tragic fate of 58 Chinese refugees in a freight container in Dover, a shocking event that dominated all the news media in 2000. In 2011-12 she filled the walls in the darkened basement of the GEM in The Hague with meters-long shadow drawings of stacked crates and human forms in a container.

In early 2018 Carlijn is invited to live and work in the Van Gogh house in Zundert for a few weeks. Here Carlijn continued her studies into her favourite subject: light-form-shadow. This time it is the structures of the old trees around the studio and on the small adjacent churchyard whose shadows she catches on her drawing paper.


Carlijn Mens | Roadside

19 May - 9 June 2018

Just for a few weeks

21 October - 11 November 2017 Fall Exhibition

Carlijn Mens & Wieteke Heldens | Heldens & Mens

25 October - 15 November 2014

Carlijn Mens | Flee-Take Flight-and Run

16 February - 2 March 2013


Borzo Publication | Newsletter 60
Borzo Publication | Newsletter 38
Borzo Publication | Newsletter 30
Borzo Publication | Newsletter 11