Studio visit #10. Ton Kraayeveld

The last word about painting will probably not be spoken in the foreseeable future, though painting has been declared dead almost every decade since the 1960s.

It is not that the discipline is so phoenix-like that it heroically resurrects once per ten years.

Neither does it renew itself revolutionarily.

It just flows with the waves and the winds.

It is a very opportunistic discipline, especially because it is both witnessing and imagining, and technically it is very versatile.

Although some painting-lovers seem to prefer to live in the past, as even some painters themselves seem to, painting – like most other basic art disciplines – is actually something very much of the present.

Circumstances and situations are decisive for how painting looks like, as paint itself can be used almost seismographically.

This week i visited painter Ton Kraayeveld (1955) in his studio in Dordrecht.

He told me about decisive events in his life for his paintings.

For instance a residency in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, two decades ago, fostered more social awareness in his work.

At such a moment different things seem to come together, like – in this case – the light and colours, the influence of Modernism on colonialism and its aftermath etc.

Another decisive moment was the almost stubborn appreciation of a gallerist for a work made up of short words, which Kraayeveld himself regarded as no more than a playful joke.

It resulted in what has become an important aspect of his oeuvre.

Very short words are the mortar of our languages, they are like short jumps in time and space, both meaningful and meaningless.

What is very much visible in his work at the moment is a visit to China, a few years ago.

Again, different aspects of his trip are visible in his work: its formal language, – again – the use of Modernism, visions of political power, etc.

While outside sunshine and rain alternated in Dordrecht’s narrow streets, we talked about painting and its reasons dictated by life itself, about its past and present, about its technique, about individual and common experiences, and  the hours passed easily, almost too easily….

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Ton Kraayeveld

By the way, Kraayeveld’s work is at the moment online on show at Gallery Viewer: click on the following link:  https://galleryviewer.com/nl/galerie/54/galerie-helder/kunstenaars/715/ton-kraayeveld

Bertus Pieters

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