Although the words duo presentation might suggest similarities, the aim is to emphasise precisely the differences between the work of Jeroen van Bergen and Rik Meijers.
This duo presentation is an interweaving of two solos, whereby visitors to each room realise how the two artists create their own worlds and just how big the differences can be. For instance, extra attention is paid to friction and opposites. Visitors are invited to participate in the ‘mood swings’ that take place from room to room. The ultimate goal must be that the work of each single artist can generate greater expressive power, which leads to greater understanding of everyone’s individual position.
The work of Rik Meijers is now known all over the Netherlands. The exceptional thing about this work is the fact that he succeeds in directly transforming his sources of inspiration into material that stems from those sources. If, for example, it is about alcoholism, we recognise that through the use of beer bottle tops. If it is about psychological problems, there is an equally direct reference in the tar and feathers applied to the surface. Numerous works portray - in his own words - losers, outcasts, drop-outs, gurus, mystics, loners, punks, junks, ghosts, bums, has-beens and down-and-outers. Rik Meijers thus achieves something that can be called unique in art.
We get a glimpse of the metropolitan places most of us don’t want to actually be in. Very clearly, he adds a personal layer that we can safely call poetry. We are inclined to take all these odd characters to our heart, especially as they are often reminiscent of spiritual or mystical atmospheres. Strangely enough, many portraits refer to the figure of Christ, despite their worldly or even shabby appearance. Mortality is anyway a theme that recurs often, and the underworld and upper world enjoy flirting with one another. The skull is only skin deep.
Jeroen van Bergen
We know Jeroen van Bergen from a few gallery exhibitions in Liège and a few presentations in Maastricht (Hedah and Bonnefantenmuseum).
Though his starting point is a model of the smallest room, he now constructs mega-city structures and buildings to his heart’s desire. Most incredible is the fact that he elevates the medium of the model beyond its limits, while never yielding to the temptation to play the architect.
All his models follow the principles of stacking (beside or on top of one another), series and rhythm, creating constructions that behave independently and form a completely unique ‘urban’ world. One could advance the theory that it is more a question of a phenomenon related to music than the built environment. The infinite repetition of the modules is reminiscent of minimal music (Philip Glass).
Unlike architects, Van Bergen applies the principle of the modular system consistently and does not deviate from it. The repetition and rhythm free his constructions from all forms of actual reality. He guides us through a world of pure fiction and imagination. And as stated in the accompanying catalogue by Bart Verschaffel, professor of architectural theory and criticism at the department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Ghent University, Jeroen van Bergen’s work is ‘[’] presented as something that has not been ‘made’ or put together on the spot, but as a precious and costly object that is unwrapped, like a present - completely new and finished. It appears suddenly and wonderfully, so that everyone forgets to ask where it actually came from’.