the Pitcairn Museum of Contemporary Art

Ra'fat Ali

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In his work, Jelte van Lente (Rotterdam 1986) reflects on the world as he perceives it in his everyday life. His work functions as a kind of diary: observations, absurd inspirations, fragments of dreams and associative thoughts alternate.
However broad all these perspectives may be, he treats everything from an emphatically personal perspective. In his work, Van Lente plays with form, format and material, but things lose their naturalness in the process. Can a sketchbook page also be a monumental painting? Can a drawing also have its own will and manipulate the artist, instead of the other way around? Big things become small, and small things become big, liquid things become solid, and what is normally only tangible becomes concrete.
“Lookers” is a series of paintings in different sizes and materials for which different grounds like: paper or canvas are stretched on (traditional) wooden frames.
Each painting shows a pair of schematically rendered eyes: white dots with black dots in them. However minimalistically they are painted, they are unmistakably eyes that seem to be looking back at you. Thus, the work itself becomes a head, and the ground the skin. Different people, of different sizes and different
skins look at the viewer. The works show themselves explicitly as paintings. The construction of the paintings are visible, some of the canvases and papers used are see-through, revealing the wooden frame behind them. This emphasizes their “paintingness”, more than their “faceness”. The emphasis on the material and the construction can be viewed as a nod to the fundamental painting, to whom everything in a painting needed to be just what it was. Representation was an absolute taboo.
“Lookers” plays a game with questions about what a painting is, whether or not a painting can have a personality, and how much a viewer projects onto a painting
Art Institute of Boston (illustration), 2006-2007, Minerva Art Academy for Fine ArtsGroningen, 2013
Exhibitions(selected): Museum Coda, Apeldoorn (group) 2019, Prospects and Concepts Mondriaan Fund, Art Rotterdam (group) 2018, Studio Seine, Rotterdam 2017, Kunstruimte Wagemans, 2016. Jelte van Lente lives and works in Groningen, the Netherlands


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