Exhibition opening on 7 April from 11am for our First Sunday event
Bram Reijnders -Crossing of cultivation-200x100 Photography | Resin | Found Objects | Paint | Layers
Bram Reijnders -Beacon of Life-130x130 Photography | Resin | Found Objects | Paint | Layers
Bram Reijnders - Soweto Style - 200x105 Photography | Resin | Found Objects | Paint | Layers
Bram Reijnders Opinionation
Photography | Resin | Found Objects | Paint | Layers
Interview with Bram Reijnders
Popping the boundaries
The Dutch artist Bram Reijnders, who holds his first South African exhibition in April, roams the world capturing incidental spaces in his photography. These he constructs into large, three dimensional, pop-inspired wall hangings. In his own words he is, “inhaling impressions of our times and exhaling these impressions as an aesthetic.” Here he talks about his upcoming exhibition.
You have been an art dealer before you became full time practicing artist. How have these two roles interfaced with each other?
In 2000, I travelled around the world and when I came in a small fishing village and I saw a fantastic painting. I was in love with it. I reserved that work of art, but the next day when I came back to buy it, it was already sold to someone else. My head ached for two days. Then I realized that if art could touch me that way I wanted to spend the rest of my life dealing with art.
Before I started my art career I first wanted to learn, so I started an art gallery, importing artists from Brazil, young artists, to Europe. I grew a gallery called Abraham Art. It is now the largest gallery and art lease in the Benelux. But I wanted to create as well as sell art. I’m only 44, and I think that through my travels and exhibitions I have, in these years, more or less covered the world. There has only been one piece of the puzzle lacking, and that is representation in Africa. So I have struck up a relationship with Daville Baillie Gallery that shares some of my vision.
What is your ambition around your presence here in South Africa?
I think my work has developed so far that I am doing something with a unique technique. I think that technique should carry the process of appealing to people; and while I like marketing and I can do my own PR, it has been important in these five years to focus on the technical aspect, something I feel that can be lacking in the contemporary art world. Marketing becomes more important than the basics.
So what is your technique?
I basically take very big layers from billboards on the streets. These are kind of urban jungle leftovers of people who want to show some message. So I think it is symbolic, and it has life itself. I don’t start with a canvas I start with these things that I take at night from the street. I always hope that the police won’t catch me.
This material gives me an opportunity. There are so many layers that you can work on it in a completely different way to canvas. So there are layers upon layers, sometimes 20 layers, of images almost peeling away. It becomes sculptural. The works are large and can reach up to two metres.
I work with several themes. I like to work in in the pop art scene, but I see pop art as a more or less an American thing, like Mickey Mouse and Campbell’s soup and so on. But I try to take more international subjects to a universal level. So, in South Africa I hope I will be ready with a series based on the things I see here. My photography is a representation of ordinary things I have encountered in my travels, and I think there is, everywhere, a pop rhythm that you can find. I think it’s a little bit boring to be just sticking to the American idiom.
Through my photography and constructions, I build stories about society. They’re not just decorative pieces. So I did a show around the inauguration of Trump and it was dubbed Truth is a Product, showing the business of truth as a product of entertainment.
Other than that I take in the whole world when I travel. I take pieces of the whole world, and I think this is contemporary pop art, but just not using the American language, but using a different language.
And why is the South African show called No More Blah blah?
I think we live in a world with a lot of opinions. And I think sometimes we -– including myself –- should shut up and listen better.
How does your method and the work on exhibition actually speak to that title?
I work around the subject in different ways; so I have pop items, pop metaphors that I’m using to describe the message. So sometimes you will see in the background the words “Blah Blah Blah” with Mickey Mouse flying through the cosmos looking for a new universe, with planets that are called Blah Blah. You’ll see a famous actress putting her finger in front of her mouth telling us to no more blah blah.
You use photography from your world travels, and so what have you used from your visit to South Africa to create your 3D sculpture?
I have made two big pieces that concern my journey to South Africa. As I’ve said, Pop art is so often related to the American imaginary that I have gone in the opposite direction and made some pieces based on what I found. I have been able to get great pop elements from fruit stalls I photographed in Soweto. These are big pieces and they use many elements to celebrate the moment with a contemporary pop feeling.
No more blah blah runs at the Daville Baillie Gallery, Victoria Yards, Lorentzville from 7 to 27 April 2019. More information on www.daville.co.za