Studio visit #7: Pim Piët

It was already quite some time ago that Pim Piët (1954) and i agreed to meet in his studio. We often meet at exhibitions here in town.

It is quite difficult not to meet at any vernissage in The Hague as we are both always eager to know what is going on and what is on show.

Last winter he had a presentation at De Spanjaardshof, the building where he and many others have their studios. It was a small (the space itself isn’t that big) but impressive installation with painting, panels creating alternative, more intimate space, a standing bell and sound.

It was a tranquil and reflective installation, great to see and experience during those dark winter days.

Others might have made it into a woolly, quasi-mystical scene, but that is far from what Piët aims at. For a long time he has been using words in his paintings, often just single words.

Words don’t just have a meaning, they also have a shape. The shape intermingles with the meaning and both define his paintings.

A bit like words defining a poem and its shape.

Of course colour is also a defining factor in his paintings. As for the sound, there has been a good co-operation between him and composer Anna Mikhailova(1984) for the last few years.

Piët’s word paintings, often rhythmic, have a quality that allows, even welcomes music and sound, not just for a background but as an equal partner.

As such his co-operation with Mikhailova has proven to be a very fruitful one. Mikhailova in turn has a very good feeling for what Piët wants in his pictures.

Maybe surprisingly, when we saw each other in his studio we hardly talked about his individual works.

We did talk about the marvellous light in the studio, about the general conditions for making art and about different tendencies in making exhibitions, but i guess his works, covering the walls and part of the floor, quite spoke for themselves. Piët’s work is, as it is for almost all artists, a labour of love.

Labour was one of the aspects of life we discussed.

As for many artists Piët has earned a living with other, non-artistic labour. He purposely didn’t choose for a more ambitious or intellectual job, he needs his intellectual capacities for his art work. On the other hand even the most unintellectual jobs need a sense of purpose and dedication if they are really useful.

We agreed however that even this sense of purpose and dedication is denied to workers these days as efficiency is aiming at higher profits to generate more money for shareholders instead of aiming at a better and meaningful life for workers and a better service to the public.

One can even see it in the way young artists have to work in this country.

We were discussing this with Piët’s wonderful works around us and his materials and books as witnesses of what purpose and dedication can really bring in life.

For those who fear we ended on a bit of a pessimistic note: we didn’t. I think for both of us seeing and making art is too fascinating to become pessimistic about.

As to me it was a very inspiring afternoon. Thank you Pim!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Pim Piët.

Bertus Pieters

 

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