Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents two new exhibitions: Black Lung by Renie Spoelstra and Inland by Brigitte Waldach.

On the back of a trip to New England in the US, Renie Spoelstra has produced a startling set of drawings which signal a marked shift in subject matter. The artist has maintained her usual working process; first capturing landscapes on film and then selecting stills from which to start drawing. However following her visit to the north-eastern states of the US, which is known for its beautiful light and has a long history as film location (The Stepford Wives, What Lies Beneath, The Ice Storm, Wolf, etc…), her work has become permeated by new subject matter and novel locations embodying the same contained tension that so epitomises her work.

The opening of this show on the 28th of November will also see the launch of Renie Spoelstra’s new book ‘Darkness is a Place’. This beautiful, image-rich monograph, has been expertly designed by Ferry van Zijderveld (HOTEL) and is published by d’Jonge Hond. It includes an essay by Arno Kramer and interview with the artist by Hans den Hartog Jager. The latter will also officially present the book at 5.30 pm.

The German artist Brigitte Waldach (born 1966), deliberately works with defined frameworks, designs and materials. Her drawings are always created with red pen on handmade paper in often large formats. The predefined rules and the relatively simple and at first sight immediate expression of the drawings seem to draw the viewer’s attention on the subject. Waldach’s imagery has clear references to literature and motion pictures and her use of the highly symbolic red colour helps to reinforce the mood of an intense psychological space; a space that the viewer might recognize from such films and books, but that is also open to the viewer’s own interpretation.

Included in the exposition will be the sound installation ‘Inland – love loop’. The piece directly references Shakespeare’s tragedy, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and its tale of a great love that comes to an early end (thus evading the disillusionment of everyday life). The work represents the figures acoustically as voices, thus alluding to a detached space which they occupy. The German film composer Jörg Rausch created the minimalist sound structure which for long periods concentrates on a single note to accompany this work.

Brigitte Waldach has presented her work across Europe and the world and is currently preparing for solo presentations at the Kunsthalle in Emden (Germany) and the Konstmuseum in Kalmar (Sweden). Her work is included in a number of public collections such as the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Aros Museum in Aarhus (Denmark) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin.

ABOUT Renie Spoelstra

The arduous drawing process of Renie Spoelstra always begins with a journey. For close to a decade, she has travelled to coasts, lakes and beaches throughout North America and Europe. Recently she visited the volcanic islands of La Palma and Iceland, looking for landscapes that evoke overwhelming existential feelings. Once she has found these locations, she films the scenes, and by using the stills from the footage, she is able to move on to the next phase of conveying a personal representation of a geographic location. Her work is never about the locations she depicts – no matter how beautiful they are. They are always about triggering emotions and associations that sharpen our senses.

Renie Spoelstra uses film footage as a starting point for her charcoal drawings. The suede like and velvety texture is achieved by the many layers of charcoal, which are skillfully positioned on top of each other to re-create an almost cinematographic scene. The balance between darkness and soft beams of light is rendered through the many shades of black and grey, creating a notion that something may be lurking below the surface.

Renie Spoelstra looks for an atmosphere, and it is this atmosphere that she tries to re-create in her drawings. The dark hues, empty landscapes and sheer size of the works evoke an existential, melancholic sentiment, and allows for the viewer to lose oneself in each piece. Although these works are reproductions of real places, and are not imagined sceneries, the soulful nature of the drawings, and dark depths, reveal a personal interpretation of the artist’s emotion.

Themes of intensity, secrecy and mystery are reoccurring in Spoelstra’s works. There is an alluring and mythical feel of a place. The series ‘Stretching Universe’ refers to the scientific fact that our universe is expanding, while here on earth it feels as though it is shrinking with the rise of xenophobia, narrow-mindedness and the continuous threats of climate change. Fleeing, or escaping to nature is not as easy as it may seem.

Renie Spoelstra studied at St. Joost, Breda and at the Academie Minerva, Groningen. She has exhibited in the Netherlands and abroad, notably at institutions like the Albertina, Vienna; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Her work is included in renowned collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MACBA Barcelona; Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Amstelveen; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; the Guerlain Fondation, Paris, and many other (private) collections.