Henri's berichten over zijn recente activiteiten

Henri's reports on his recent activities


Personal website: http://members.ziggo.nl/here

woensdag 24 augustus 2011

Community - Individuality

Enlargement of individual organism
and pen drawing of colony of
Pyrosoma atlanticum (B 620) II,
 watercolour,  (ca. 30x20, 2011)

The species Pyrosoma atlanticum, known for its bioluminescent properties, is a colony building Tunicate animal. Their length varies from a few centimetres to several meters. Such a colony makes you wonder about the tension between the individual (and privacy) and community. In the nineteenth century however, the analogy between colonies of the lower animal species and the human society contributed to scientific thought, in which there was room for speculation to allow for defending scientific positions.


Groep – Eenling

De soort Pyrosoma atlanticum, bekend vanwege het vermogen tot bioluminescentie, is een manteldier dat kolonies vormt. Zij variëren in lengte van enkele centimeters tot verscheidene meters. Een dergelijke kolonie laat je peinzen over de spanning tussen individu (en privacy) en gemeenschap. In de 19e eeuw was het trekken van de analogie tussen kolonies van lagere dieren en de menselijke samenleving echter onderdeel van de wetenschap, waarin plaats was voor speculaties om wetenschappelijke stellingnamen verdedigen.

woensdag 17 augustus 2011

Hermit-crab & companion

The Cloak-anemone lives on the shell of the Hermit-crab, that formerly was inhabited by the Whelk
De Mantelanemoon  woont op de schelp van de Hermietkrab, waarin voorheen de Wulk woonde.

Watercolour of Hermit-crab, based on Gosse, 1865: Pl. 27 .
The Cloaklet is based on the late version of Blaschka glass model 33,
Adamsia palliata - the Cloaklet.
(ca. 15x20 cm, 2011) 

"It is that unaccounted association of diverse and unrelated creatures, which, if we had not repeatedly seen it, we should not believe; the companionship of the Hermit-crab with the beautiful Cloak-anemone. … 
The companion of the Cloaklet … is exclusively a deep-water species. Found on various parts of our coast, it invariably occurs in this association. I believe the Crab in no instance lives without the Anemone, the Anemone in no instance without the Crab. Examples, indeed, do now and then occur, as mentioned by Forbes in which the one comes up in the dredge without the other; but I believe this is only when the rude action of the dredge has frightened the crab, and induced it suddenly to vacate the shell and desert its friend."
(Gosse, 1865, p. 237-238)

Litt.:  Philip Henry Gosse. A year at the shore;  London : Strahan, 1865.

woensdag 10 augustus 2011

Homage to Foucault

Homage to Foucault, mixed media (c. 40 x 30 cm)

In the N e t h e r l a n d s, we have already since the 1990s the imperative from the administration and supported by the parliament, that artists should concentrate on cultural entrepreneurship. More than before, our present government expands this concept also to cultural institutions like e.g. museums and orchestras.

This may worry us deeply. The economic model may apply to economic activities, but I have reasons to reject this concept when related to the cultural sphere. If artists want to be executives, if institutions prefer to be operated as businesses then it would not concern me. However, it is obvious for those who can see, that they are manipulated to move in that direction.

Business-person is one of the roles (Gestalt) an artist may assume. However, it may be more urgent for him or her to be a priest, a teacher, a prophet, a nurse, a doctor, a clown or a hermit. An artist may also be an artists’ artist, an inspiration to his fellow travellers and colleagues, unnoticed by the audience at large.

We need all these types of artist, and let us not be fooled by the concept that art from an entrepreneurial practice is the only real art with quality.

I feel there is this ongoing process of modelling the arts and the artists into the mould of publicly accepted values, economic orientation and success being at the core of them. It is Michel Foucault (1926-1984) who made us aware of the processes in which humans, their behaviour and expectations are all subject to normalisation. Still, artists are not businessmen by nature, and they need not to comply. They can refuse.

All this occupied me, when I painted this homage to Foucault. It is based on the famous photograph made in Berlin in the late 1970s.

dinsdag 2 augustus 2011

XIX: Black / Zwart


Physalia pelagica, Indian Ink, c 30 x 40 cm (2011)
Ik herinner me de door Gustave Doré geïllustreerde Bijbel, en de platen in de boeken door Jules Verne. Als kind joegen de plaatjes in Alice in Wonderland (getekend door John Tenniel) me zelfs angst aan. Mijn fascinatie voor de negentiende eeuw betreft zeker ook deze “zwarte” illustraties. Dit is de aanleiding voor het “zwarte” beeld van het Portugese Oorlogsschip.

I remember the bible with the Doré illustrations, and the plates in the books by Jules Verne. As a child, the pictures in Alice in Wonderland (drawn by John Tenniel), even frightened me. My fascination for the 19th century certainly also includes these “black” illustrations. This triggered the “black” image of the Portuguese man-of-war.