World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces – Gerda Kruimer
Walter van Teeffelen
The Form On-Line exhibition at Breed Art Studios in Amsterdam (01.06–13.07.2019), a duo exhibition by Gerda Kruimer (NL) and Sabine Jacobs (DE), resulted in an interesting dialogue of work characterized by amorphous forms of growth (Jacobs) and work characterized by the use of the straight line, which also has all kinds of growth forms (Kruimer). In common, the two have a spatial and constructive approach.
In the exhibition I saw Kruimer’s elongated horizontal and vertical transparent black structures with occasional intersecting lines, in addition works in a frame with a pattern determined by shapes and small, almost square block-like works of around 20 x 24 centimeter.
When I am visiting her, a while later, in her studio in the Jordaan, I also see them all on the wall. The block-like works, which sometimes run a bit crooked, are her ‘Punatics’. In the summer of 2017, she and her family made a long trip to the Pacific. In the northwest of Big Island, Hawaii, they came across detached houses on a lava plain in the Puna province, tightly constructed.
Gerda Kruimer: “They are sometimes futuristic structures, small and efficient. The volcano has been active again since 1983 and the area is regularly hit by volcanic eruptions, which causes a black lava bottom. People who didn’t have that much money started building houses on it. The houses under construction resembled the three dimensional grid works that I made earlier. In an earlier series of works I had also changed the background from white to black. For me, the black lava surface worked like a large abstract black sheet. “
When she returned home and went to work, a number of things coincided. “I began to continue the raster drawings I made earlier and started changing the system from the inside, the shapes of the houses became visible. Based on these drawings I made small wall objects: variations on a type, reduced to the essence. ”
Gerda Kruimer works with lines made with charcoal, graphite pencil, pen and ink and lately with acrylic pens. In her autonomous drawings she applies ‘the line’ in different ways and from different starting points: the urban landscape, certain (native) architecture, mathematical projections, random patterns.
Lines then become grids that are placed over each other in different layers. Fascinated by countless lines that make unspoken, unseen connections in the spatial whole, she made various series. The emphasis in her formal language is constantly shifting because, partly due to her travels – she made more than 90 distant journeys around the world – new sources of inspiration are constantly emerging.
It produces geometric-constructivist works that look architecturally. From one thing she comes to the other, she says. “I do not have a theme, but I do have a few constants such as the grid and the perspective, respectively the disappearance of the perspective and thus also the omission of hierarchy in a work. Works are created by looking and thinking and by working and when everything falls into place at the right time.” Her series don’t last that long. Every series has a natural end at a given moment. Her formal language is constantly changing, also because she is constantly discovering new sources of inspiration because of her travels.
By traveling, she started looking at the world in a different way. “When I looked at the earth from afar while flying, all the distinction between things dropped, there were different things, but everything was of equal value. The hierarchy and the perspective based on it disappeared. That’s how the grids came into the picture. In the architectural world too, operations are sometimes carried out this way. There it is called axonometry. The third dimension is taken out so that it falls ‘flat’. I go from two-dimensional to three-dimensional and again to two-dimensional. In this way, indirectly and partly by removing lines, I get a light perspective in my work. ”
We look at the works she made as a result of a visit to New York and Utah. “I sat down somewhere on Times Square in the center of New York when my children went into a shop. Initially I saw a multitude of movements, of people, of traffic, of illuminated signs. After a while I started to see rhythm and structure. I also had the same kind of experience in Utah. As I looked across the country from the west, I suddenly oversaw a pattern of shadows through shifting clouds. From afar you see nothing in the shadow. I started working on it again – at home. I started to ‘frame’ the underlying components. The next step was to make the grid disappear in its own void. “
You can still see some dark pieces on the works in question that are reminiscent of parts of a city, bridges, towers. But almost all the darkness disappears to the light. “I turn it around to a ‘negative space’.”
On a previous trip in South America, she saw that many small cities were built in a block pattern. “The Spaniards have done this for strategic reasons, for the defense of the city. You can also see it reflected in the pattern of the city of Barcelona, where other considerations played a role. It is a matter of classification. You can see that in my work too, that is also classification and positioning.”
In addition to being an artist, Gerda Kruimer is also a curator. “I prefer to call it an exhibition maker.” This is how she makes – with René Eicke – the exhibitions ‘Contemporary Contemplations’. The first exhibition was on display at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam in 2018, then traveled on to Berlin, the Bethanien Kunstquartier, the Kunsthaus in Erfurt, PHK 18 in Rotterdam, ACEC in Apeldoorn and it will go to Ursula Walter Gallery in Dresden next year.
“This exhibition is about repetition, contemplation and craftsmanship. Every time we are in a different location, we ask people there to add input by artists who are related to the subject in their work. That way you get a consecutive effect. “
She recently participated as an artist and curator in the three exhibitions ‘Interdiscursive Non-Objective’ by Mark Starel in Poland and in the ‘Concrete Summer’ exhibition by Viktor Hulik with abstract geometric constructive and reductive art in various institutions and galleries, including Galéria Umelka in Bratislava. “It is very inspiring to talk to the various artists every time. That gives energy. “
Incidentally, it started early with those geometric shapes. In high school she already made a wall painting with geometric shapes in the library. She shows it on the phone. Various two and three-dimensional geometric shapes, a few human figures and an empty black surface, the blackboard.
Even then she knew what she was going to do after high school: the Art Academy. “I already knew when I was ten. After high school I first went to the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts (now School of the Arts) and then immediately to the Monumental department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy where I graduated in 1991.”
Finally: can she briefly summarize her philosophy? She can. Gerda Kruimer: “My fascination is the countless lines that make unspoken, unseen connections in the spatial whole. In response to the created world around me, I always determine my place in my works, so that I exist!
Gerda Kruimer, design and realization Wall painting with 3D objects in the library of the Stad and Lande College in Huizen, 8 x 2.7 m, 1983.