Séance with Eggshell
Harry van der Woud, 2004
Harry van der Woud (Leeuwarden, NL, 1963), Amsterdam, NL
“Social relevance is not the point as far as I am concerned; what's relevant is the fact that I exist.” These words by Harry van der Woud sum up not only the main subject of his paintings but also the view embodied by his works. With his crew cut and thick, trendy frames, he is recognisable time after time as the central figure – sometimes in multiple versions – who enters into a dialogue with the world around him. Judging from Van der Woud's work, it is immediately clear that the artist sees this world as absurdly complex. Van der Woud's hyper-realistic styling of painting and technical perfection drive home his personal truths.
Four identical men in black, modelled on Van der Woud himself, are sitting round a black table. The centre of attraction, and of the composition, is a dish. The four men stare ahead in deep concentration without any eye contact. The tension can be cut with a knife. By constructing the earthenware dish on the table out of pieces of eggshell, Van der Woud creates a literal connection between the subject and its rendition.
1988: Minerva Academy of Fine Arts, Groningen, NL