It's going to be really very beautiful, romantic, lyrical and aesthetic. Aesthetics no longer frighten me. (Ger van Elk)

At the time I write this introduction, Ger van Elk is putting the final touches to his latest work: As is as was – As was as is. He already had the title for this work in mind a year ago. Bringing the idea to fruition is a time-consuming process for an artist like Van Elk. And now, as its completion draws near, the conceptual idea acquires its final form. Right from the start he was certain that he wanted to take photographs at two locations, which would later serve as exhibition space for the result. The first photo session took place in the Borzo back room on the Keizersgracht; the second a few months later at Galerie Grimm in the Frans Halsstraat.

As is as was – As was as is, as so often in Ger van Elk's work, is about saying good-bye, about arrival and departure, about coming into the picture and then vanishing from it.
At both locations Van Elk had female models move between a central point in the space and a work of art on each wall. Appearing and then disappearing, from clear and in-focus to diffuse and blurred, facing you and then facing away. It's going to be very beautiful, loving, he says, when you view it at another level they are just like portraits. As is as was – As was as is encompasses the whole life of an artist, his relationship with women and then (unwillingly) saying good-bye….

Saying good-bye is a theme throughout Ger van Elk's oeuvre. Perhaps this will be my last work, he says with mixed feelings that, as always, swing back and forth between amazement and melancholy, between humour and nostalgia. My last but one series of paintings was called Conclusions.

Over dinner with us I tell him how much I love the late work of great artists and that this includes his own. The late work of Mondrian, of Matisse, even Willem De Kooning and the final, almost black canvases by Rothko. And closer to home, the last, tranquil reliefs by Jan Schoonhoven. In music, too, the finest compositions are created in the late works of Beethoven, Mahler and Richard Strauss. No longer taking one by surprise with the latest experiments, the ‘Sturm und Drang’, the lack of inhibition, the provocation, perhaps. In all these artists' late works the accumulation of these qualities results in serenity, well-considered balance and consummate certainty. These qualifications also definitely apply to Ger van Elk and his late work.

Paul van Rosmalen, Amsterdam, July 2012