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Press: Ik ben een gedreven kunstenaar, November  1, 2017 - Gabriëlla Cleuren

Ik ben een gedreven kunstenaar

November 1, 2017 - Gabriëlla Cleuren


Dutch spoken.

Text in english below.


I am an artist who works daily. For me it is a necessity to sharpen my skills. When I don’t work a few days my hands feel uneasy. I try to do it every day.

Many people ask me: ‘Are you always inspired and where does it come from? I think I am like Picasso. My life is my inspiration.

Many simple things happen to me every day, unimportant events, for others banal things, but I notice them.

I have dedicated several series to that or painted in systems if you want to define it like that. These daily notes I called virtual worlds or diary. Virtual because they concern little events that happen to me, but I registrate as well how I think about that.

These memories I find very important, naturally they are personally colored. And I cann’t understand why some people attach an almost scientific value to this, like in court, used to condemn others.

It is always very personal and so I want to see it. My memory I try to connect to a general vision, something that is true for all human beings. The universal it is called in art, and I think it is also present in banal things.

The language I use in this series is not academic, not meticulously, all a bit scotch and crooked, and because I started computering a long time ago, I saw that computers worked with systems and pictograms.

Than I thought: let me create my own pictograms.

These pictograms I use in my work to explain things, so you can find them written over my work, over my memories to clear what it’s all about and what I want to say. If it is always seen and understood by others, I don’t know. Sometime it can be very unintelligible, but I don’t mind.

It is very important for me what rises from such a leaf, from such a paper. The loading of life itself I think, that is also important.

Aside from this series, I have another kind of work, because an artist has to witness his time and surroundings, not only his life, but also of the world around him. Today I find that we live in such a hectic, overthrowing world we cannot deny.

What do I do with it?  (4/38).

These are things I am confronted with through television or newspapers or magazines. (I still read a newspaper every day) and there I search for little cutouts that inspire me immediately, not only by the content but also because of the aesthetics. So that I say: ‘I can do something with that’. Then I cut it out and after a certain time, I start working at it and look how I can fill it with my own vision. This might not be understood by someone else, but there is a clear line and vision behind it.

This I had to collect in a series because virtual worlds are my own worlds. Of cause this is my own world too, a vision I developed.

Once I was in the Prado. I saw a lot of art there, but paintings that overwhelmed me were the dark works of Goya. Not so long ago I saw an exhibition in the Hermitage of Amsterdam, showing Goya and his vision on the world and human beings. I really think this view could be stuck to our time. Perhaps it is a little bit negative, a little bit atrabilious. But Goya was someone who looked well through his time. He fixed it in his graphic work that he was afraid to show during his life time.  The large works of kings, these fantastic works of him are well known, or he is famous for. This graphic work of him is the essence of man.

That is where I started and collected cutouts in magazines, newspapers that reflected a view of the 21e century. And what did I discover? Yes, nothing has changed, anything came back in another form. I thought people would turn their backs on those shocks in society. But nothing is less true. Everything, every event returns in another form. I was convinced that people with their long and high level possibilities would abandon those chocks.

I find that the difficult, the intolerable, ‘the fist and war’ ‘is back.  The war like in Goya’s time between the Spanish and the French. It is disturbing for me to notice it.

It continues going further downhill to a negative position. These worlds I put together in BNOW: brave new, old world. 

These are new, repeated old worlds, a repetition we face today. I don’t see it as continuity, or as a straight line, but as a circle who turns always back.

Perhaps it is a reality that people don’t have the possibility to rise above themselves. That is it what I show in my works, in a very own way. Because I worked with the computer in de 70-80 and in the 90-ties, even more, I discovered computer systems at people working with it.  Now a day it’s better known through pixels, printings. But at the time it were only systems. I choose one of these systems but because I find that the emotional part should be kept, I wrote it in a gestural mode. It shouldn’t be systematic for me. The computer systems are always leading the drawing, or the painting, in technique or form, not in the content, I already explained before.

As an artist from the 21e century I have to use contemporary methods and technique. The same at my virtual worlds where I put pictograms over my work. These forms are two parallels to the computer worlds and I find it important also to express that.

Evolution. At this moment (I did show this already) I am working at an ornamental world, as a counterweight to the heavy things of the 21e century. And there is something between it. I lived almost 4 years in the Caribbean. I returned there on regular base and I used the landscapes, there where nobody lives, very desolate, only with rocks, beaches, sea and no living creatures. I used them to express the enormous solitude.

There aren’t any people in the landscapes.

I always hear that I sail my own route. I am very little connected to other artists, perhaps in the content, but not in the form, because I went straight on my own way.

In the beginning I asked sometimes the meaning of others: ‘How do you find this or that?’. But I got answers that didn’t bring me something, a view. So I thought: trace your own route, go straight ahead and express yourself like you feel you have to do. This didn’t always fit with a trend or environment or with other artists, who stood very often a lifetime in their own region. This is a strange thing and not always understood. But do you have to be understood? I don’t know.

 I think it should be, because you have the intention to create a dialogue, you want to transmit something. You want to communicate your vision, and it should be understood.

But then sometimes I have to explain things.


Gabriëlla Cleuren 2017 november.