ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Practical Info

You can now visit The Beginning by Koen van den Broek digitally through our RM Online Viewing Room space or visit the gallery by making an appointment.

To ensure your safety regarding the COVID-19 virus, we will adhere to the rules set out by the Dutch government. Therefore, you will be given the opportunity to book a one hour time-slot which will allow you and a maximum of two guests to discover The Beginning by Koen van den Broek in an empty gallery all to yourself.

To reserve your time-slot, please contact our Gallery Manager Sheila Verdegaal via e-mail at sheila@ronmandos.nl or via phone at + 31 20 320 7036.

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Koen van den Broek | The Beginning


The Beginning
 marks Koen van den Broek’s first official solo-exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos. For this large retrospective, the renowned Belgian artist made a selection of his finest, most exemplary works from the last twenty years.

While revisiting his older work, the artist discovers elements that he samples and translates onto new canvases. Presenting these new paintings alongside older works, he introduces us to the idiosyncratic works of curbs, cracks and shadows, contrasted with less familiar works of flowers and rainbows from his personal collection. Van den Broek tells us about artists like Bruegel, Matisse, and Mondriaan that radically changed his view on the landscape. The Beginning shows the artist’s constant search for renewing the medium of landscape painting.

Ever since his student days, van den Broek has travelled constantly: around Europe, to the USA, Mexico and even to Japan. Always with his camera close to hand. He takes photos, a lot of photos, which all depict the same subject: the architectural interventions of man on the landscape. Van den Broek does not look for motifs that make landscapes specific and recognizable, but holds on firmly to forms of subject matter that one can find everywhere. He turns his gaze downwards and zooms in on curbstones and shadows found on sidewalks and roads. It is this very search for a subject of representation that led the artist on a journey closer to abstraction.

In his search for abstraction, Van den Broek is guided by many important art historical figures. For example, John Chamberlain’s expression ‘cut away the snoopy’ laid the foundation for a series of paintings in which Van den Broek ‘cut away’ all recognizable elements from his compositions for the sake of pure form. The Crack paintings, on the other hand, refer to Mondriaan’s Boogie Woogie paintings, which seem abstract, but in fact relate to real-world examples of New York. For a long time, Van den Broek worked together with the famous John Baldessari, whose photos he transformed into colorful and playful compositions. In a more recent project, Van den Broek gets inspired by Pieter Bruegel, performing interventions in the public space and using these as a source for new landscape paintings.

ABOUT Koen van den Broek

Born in 1973 in Bree, Belgium
Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium

Born in 1973 in the Belgian town of Bree, Van den Broek first studied architecture and subsequently painting, initially at the Royal Academy of Antwerp and then at the Academy of Visual Arts of Breda. In his opinion, despite his painting studies, he has always remained an architect at heart. Ever since his student days, van den Broek has travelled constantly: around Europe, to the USA, Mexico and even to Japan. Always with his camera close to hand. He takes photos, a lot of photos, which all depict the same subject: the architectural interventions of man on the landscape.

Early in his career, Koen van den Broek developed a fascination for desolate landscapes in which man rarely appears, but always makes his presence felt. He depicts the traces left behind on roads, streets and houses that have been abandoned. The artist’s perception of roads and borders in barren lands has provided the painter with impulses that enable him to make his specific statement on landscape painting. Van den Broek operates by turning his face downwards and zooming in on the irregularities of the pavement, on curb stones and shadows. It is this very search for a subject of representation that led the artist on a journey closer to abstraction.

Works by Koen van den Broek are part of major public collections, including the LACMA, Los Angeles; SMAK, Ghent; M HKA, Antwerp; Busan Museum of Art, Busan; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle. His work has been presented at the Venice Biennial (2015 & 2017); White Cube, London; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp and Brussels; Seoul Arts Centre, Seoul; Kunsthalle, Mannheim; Royal Academy, London; MAS, Antwerp, and Kunsthal, Rotterdam; His work can also be found in numerous public spaces in Belgium, such as the Hofkamer, Antwerp; ‘t Zilte, MAS, Antwerp; AZSM Hospital, Mechelen, and the Provinciehuis, Hasselt.

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