paintings, works on paper, video and photo

Wieteke Heldens
In October 2013 His Majesty King Willem-Alexander presents Wieteke Heldens (*1982) with the prestigious Royal Award for Modern Painting (Koninklijke prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst). A small selection of her work is exhibited in the Palace on Dam Square. I buy one of her works and we make an appointment for a studio visit in the Schilderswijk in The Hague. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague she spends some time studying in China in order to qualify for an “Artist in Residence” position in de Flux Factory in New York.

Once back in The Hague the call of the big Metropolis proves irresistible and she therefore finds herself commuting between the two cities. And that sense of always being on the verge of departure, is also reflected in how she works. Everything in her studio, which she shares with a colleague, is neat and tidy. There's not much, just the bare necessities.  The studio may have to be emptied tomorrow, no excess baggage in the form of piles of canvases, drawings, paint, brushes, chalk and markers. This craving for a prospective departure affects the way she works.

In New York she was forced to be economical with expensive drawing and painting materials. In exchange for a “Thank You Letter” she was allowed to get free, surplus artists' materials from the MFTA (Material For The Arts) and in her tiny New York studio she used this material until it ran out. For her it becomes a method, an attitude that she maintains - also in the Netherlands - to this day.

Wieteke Heldens paints until the available material runs out, she draws with a marker, almost compulsively repeating the same movement, until it is empty. A brush dipped in paint applies paint until the colour disappears. The brush is then dipped in the paint again, the current drawing continued, the movement repeated. Until the surface is full, all the linen used, the canvas - or the canvases - painted or filled with drawing, the markers empty, the paint used up and the work is finished. Everything has been used up, everything has been tidied up, tomorrow she will start again ... or she will leave.

Paul van Rosmalen, Ocober 2014

Carlijn Mens
Paul has asked me to write a piece about my work/processes. This is difficult for me. I would rather stand up and tell you. Nevertheless, I shall try, using a text that herman de vries once wrote for me and adding some things myself.

The reason I have chosen his text rather than one written by one of the other artists and art experts who have written about my work is because in my new work, 'Dansa i en ring', which will now be on show at Borzo, I also invited herman to dance in a ring. And he is the only one in this. “Be happy” is his advice to me when I am again working on a big project. Dancing in a ring is something I do with my children in my studio when I need to take a break. So when making these works I took his advice.

….what is the reality of a shadow. it is there and yet it is not. shadow has no substance. it needs substance and light, then it exists.
a shadow cannot be grasped, the process of which it is a part is always in motion, but the shadow has nothing to hold on to and so we identify the dynamics of the process.
carlijn mens is engaged in enabling the multifaceted manifestations of an aspect of this effect to be visible in her/our consciousness. this is what constitutes the core of art...
(herman de vries; from a publication from the Drawing Centre Diepenheim)

This not only relates to the shadow, it forms the core of my work. I draw the direct observation; getting a hold on fleeting moments. These can be processes of motion but also observations where it is I who am in motion. Or processes that I set in motion. And where my dreams and desires converge.
At Borzo I am showing my explorations of these processes of motion during the past year.

Carlijn Mens, October 2014