Stompin ground 2013 doek 85 x 140cm

Stompin ground, 2013, oil on canvas 85 x 140 cm

Mirror me 2013 acryl en olieverf op canvas 110 x 180cm

Mirror me, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas 110 x 180 cm

Orangescape 2013 200 x 120cm olieverf op canvas

Orange scape, 2013, oil on canvas 200 x 120 cm

Nachtlandschap 2013 olieverf op doek 135 x 210 cm

Heure bleue, 2013, oil on canvas 135 x 210 cm

Lake 2013 olieverf op canvas 40 x 70 cm

Lake, 2013, oil on canvas 40 x 70 cm

The Arrival 2013 olieverf op canvas 120 x 130 cm

The Arrival, 2013, oil on canvas 120 x 130 cm

Diorama 2013 olieverf op canvas 80 x 90 cm

Diorama, 2013, olieverf op canvas 80 x 90 cm

Mori 2013 olieverf op canvas 80 x 100 cm

Mori, 2013, oil on canvas 80 x 100 cm

Hangout 2013 olieverf op canvas 55 x 85 cm

Hangout, 2013, oil on canvas 55 x 85 cm

Buzz 2013 180 x 190cm

Buzz, 2013, oil on canvas 180 x 190 cm

Panama  2013 doek 145 x 100cm

Panama, 2013, oil on canvas 145 x 100 cm

Poem  2013 doek 60 x 45cm

Poem, 2013, oil on canvas 60 x 45 cm




Koen Judofoto

Koen Vermeule



In October 1960 one of the most remarkable photographs in the history of post-war art was made: "Leap into the Void". The artist Yves Klein is jumping off a roof edge and seems to be floating in space. Yves Klein (1928-1962) is considered one of the most important artists of what is now known as the ZERO movement. Besides being an artist, Klein was also an active and enthusiastic – black belt, 4th dan - judoka. During the fifties he lives in Japan for a while and writes a book on his favourite sport: "Les Fondements du Judo".

On a recent visit to Koen Vermeule's studio, I am shown a rare first edition of this handbook. Koen is likewise a keen judoka, 3rd dan, who hopes next year to match Klein's level, and who, like Yves Klein in his own day, immerses himself in the origins of judo, the 'Kata'. The book comprises (action) photographs of Yves Klein and his Japanese instructor in hundreds of judo positions. They seem to be - no, they are - moments of action frozen in time, sometimes illustrated by sketches of posture and foot movements, almost like the choreography for a dance. The action, the momentum of a throw, frozen by a photograph into an aesthetic pose. In his essay on the work of Koen Vermeule, High Above Ground, (Zwolle 2012), Cornel Bierens makes reference to this relationship.

"Judo is, in fact, the discovery by the human body of a spiritual space" (Y. Klein, 1958)

In several of Vermeule's paintings in the MIRROR ME exhibition, we see one or more figures that the artist has 'stilled' into their place in the setting of a street or a building, landscape or square.
Vermeule is an accurate observer. He seems to be always searching for a particular moment, a shadow or a specific pose by a person.
In Vermeule's paintings there are no photographic representations of a realistic situation. They are the studies and observations of an artist for whom "the discovery by the human body of a spiritual place" – to speak in terms of Klein – is a recurring theme.
Just like the judo positions in the book, the movements are frozen, as in a film still. They are preceded by a movement and one will follow, but at the (snapshot) moment itself there is inertia.
Rather than linear, however, Vermeule's development has been cyclic. New subjects present themselves, old ones sometimes return. He believes in the Japanese Do: achieving control and perfection through immersion. Elements from judo that have shaped him recur in the work: strength, balance, elegance, lightness, beauty.

MIRROR ME is the title of one of Koen Vermeule's paintings in this exhibition.
Mirror Me possibly displays yet more of the metaphysical aspect to his art: the imagination that surpasses the reality and acts as the "Leap into the Void".

Paul van Rosmalen
October 2013


atelier 150513-1