Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam

De bonte mensheid

For the exhibition ‘De bonte mensheid’ I have revived old themes and working methods from my own oeuvre. I created a new series of large amoeba-like epoxy paintings that I combine with a new light installation, consisting of peculiar transparent plastic heads.

The fundamental axis of this exhibition is the human condition in all its madness, contradictions and complexity. The leading motive is the possibility of change: of opinion, form, idea, feeling, taste and position.

Talking heads is a hanging sculpture with molded heads. The heads contain lamps, similar to the series of sculptures ‘Fluorescent Chairs’ from 2018. These chairs are about the importance of the uncomfortable conversation in getting to the truth. Talking heads operates on the border of verbal and non-verbal communication. How can I have a good and free conversation today? An important steering point in the development of the heads is critical thinking and the ability to reach new understandings. The heads can be seen as a bunch of colourful idiots, entangled in a polonaise of arguments and opinions. I’m definitely a part of it myself.

In 2012 I started experimenting with my so-called ‘pearls’ with epoxy and paint, because I wanted to combine different fundamental aspects of painting: shadow, light, monochrome and a whole spectrum of colors together. For me the new epoxy paintings can be seen as something in between an enlarged amoeba and a text or thought bubble. In the amoeba series I play with the infinite possibilities of change in form and image. Unicellular organisms are constantly changing shape. Amoeba also means ‘without form’ (a = without, moeba = form). Due to the composition and the shiny epoxy layer, the paintings seem to be in continuous movement. The incidence of light, the reflection of the viewer and the space around the work are twisted and set in motion. Enlarging the micro-organism creates an interesting playing field for me that lies in between figuration and abstraction.

The leading material in this exhibition is plastic, epoxy and polyester. This refers to the artificial quality of existence. Fake and real are inextricably linked. The crystal clear varnish makes the paintings extremely plastic, and sometimes I myself do not know whether I am attracted to it or repelled by it. But the fake is distinctive for our times, I have to capture it. I think that if Peter-Paul Rubens or Willem de Kooning had lived today, they would also have slathered epoxy on their paintings. And the polyester I used for the heads, that really is devilish stuff, that speaks for itself.

– Bob Eikelboom, June 2022