Self-Portrait with Orange Dish
Harry van der Woud, 2007
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.
“Intangible, fragmented reality can only be parried by creating, expressing and shaping one's own reality”, as Van der Woud explains his hyper-personal compositions. In this painting, he wears the same black rollneck as in Séance with Eggshell, but this time his hair is light blond. A table-leg protrudes from his mouth. As conspicuous and disturbing as this element of the composition may be, the artist has named this work after the orange dish under another leg of the table. The discrepancy between image and text adds to the confusion created by Van der Woud.
1988: Minerva Academy of Fine Arts, Groningen, NL