Hamish Morrison Galerie is delighted to present the latest works on paper by Dutch artist Ronald de Bloeme (born in 1971) in an exhibition entitled Home Alone.
“The object is reassembled in order to make functions appear, and that is, if one may say so, the path that the work produces.” (Roland Barthes)
Ronald de Bloeme researches, collects and plunders. And he is a repeat offender. In his works, allusions to popular signs of our contemporary society can be found which are, whether consciously or not, deeply anchored in our visual memory. The artist takes his templates not just from the sign systems of our consumer society that are found on advertising billboards, packaging, or logos, but he also uses individually coded patterns for example the one of a familiar table cloth from his childhood, or, in an earlier work, the tablecloth itself. All literal references to their origin are either removed or made unrecognizable with the aid of a kind of censor bar. De Bloeme uses what he sees in his environment, and he also draws on his previous works. Thus his works often mutually influence one another in the process of creation. The concept of repetition includes a continuous engagement with his own work as well as the appropriation of patterns from outside – always by means of form and colour.
De Bloeme’s reception and transformation processes can be initiated by the sight of a man in a harlequin costume, the colourful pattern of which appears in “Kurzstrecke 19”, but they can also be influenced by the work of other artists: de Bloeme names the Dutch artist René Daniëls as a source of inspiration for the recurrent formation of joined triangles, in for example “Kurzstrecke 18”.
Similarly, the two flamingos facing each other in the large-format “Kurzstrecke 02” (185 x 125 cm) should be read as a reminiscence of Sigmar Polke and his bird paintings from the 1960s. The flamingos stand as a black silhouette in front of a grid of green and yellow lines. On closer examination, we realize that the background is not just pure white, but that it contains traces of an otherwise eliminated painterly gesture, that of the mechanical abrasion of white paint from a coloured layer of paint below. The traces of abrasion appear with increasing frequency in de Bloeme’s more recent works and gain a particular presence in the works on paper, where in some places it has penetrated right through the paper – Bloeme powerfully pushes through layers and engages physically with the paper itself. This visibility of hands-on craftsmanship, which is further emphasized by the open-ended edges of some of the works, clearly underlines the process of production. The subtracting action of abrading the paint with a machine also contains an unpredictable element of chance, and enters into a dynamic dialogue with the additive process of the exceedingly controlled superimposition of layers of paint and materials in De Bloeme’s works.
And just as the artist takes up the visual impressions of his surroundings, digests them, and then makes them available to our own process of perception, for the first time de Bloeme also appropriates and integrates the exhibition space surrounding his works. He transforms the space of his pictures and the exhibition space into the illusion of a home. Right in the prominent shopping mile Friedrichstraße, and visible for everybody through the gallery’s windows, the yearned-for space of Home Alone is accessible for everybody. De Bloeme’s works reflect both the desires of a consumerist society, but also evoke a memory of something different: as we look at these works on paper we are home alone, but at the same time surrounded by a sense of the familiar.
Ronald de Bloeme was born in 1971 in Leeuwarden, Friesland, Netherlands. From 1992-1996, he studied painting at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam. In 2000, he won a fellowship from the international studio programme of Künstlerhaus Bethanien; since then, he has been living in Berlin. In 2007, he was awarded the Vattenfall Kunstpreis. De Bloeme’s works have been shown in solo shows at Berlinische Galerie, Kunstverein Malkasten in Düsseldorf, at the Pharos Centre for Contemporary Art Cyprus, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; in addition, he has participated in numerous group shows, currently at Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort (NL). His works are in numerous public collections, including the Caldic Collectie, Wassenaar (NL); the GASAG, Berlin; the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, (NL); the Berlinische Galerie, the Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Espacio 1414, San Juan (PR), and Vattenfall Sammlung.