'InTime' at Espace Enny
I can clearly recall the first work of art by Cornelia Bruinewoud (Dutch 1958) I ever saw: a collection of aluminum bins filled with water, each also containing a piece of stone. A light bulb hung above each bin. It seemed quite easy to 'decipher' this installation: the combination of water and stone refers to erosion, of course, and the artist puts (quite literally) a spotlight on the influence of time on the physical.
But I was mistaken, I realized afterwards: this work of art, Wachten voor de bergen (Waiting for the mountains), could not be summarized so easily. The title pointed in a very different direction than erosion, and the installation also looked remarkably like a sort of incubator: light and water, and eventually that stone becomes a mountain.
'Wachten op bergen'by Cornelia Bruinewoud price on request.
During the opening of INTIME documenten van een langzame tijd (INTIME documents from a slow moving time) I am confronted again with art by Cornelia Bruinewoud. Waiting for the mountains is not in this exhibition, but there are many paintings that are at least as intriguing. They depict landscapes - or at least they look like landscapes - in a way that is as abstract as figurative.
'Wachten op de Bergen' installation by Cornelia Bruinewoud price on request
For example, two mountains are two dark, vertical shapes that reach from the 'bottom' of the painting. On the top half of the canvas there are two floating lighter, horizontal shapes: two clouds. Sometimes a mountain or another landscape element in a Bruinewoud painting seems to have been taken from the background of an old painting, or from an illustration in a children's book, but as often they are resemble icons or the legend of a map, like in Twee bergen, twee wolken (Two mountains, two clouds). The title explains what you are looking at; the subject has been reduced to the most essential.
Twee Bergen, Twee wolken by Cornelia Bruinewoud (120 x 100 cm) available at Espace Enny
For this reason, among other things, it is rarely figurative artists to whom the thoughts wander. In Bruinewoud's paintings, the masters of abstraction echo earlier: Newman, Rothko and especially Mondrian.
Dictating Absence by Cornelia Bruinewoud (80 x 110 cm) available at Espace Enny
It is still quite a switch: how can these paintings be by the same artist as Wachten op de bergen (Waiting for the mountains)? That question is as equally confusing, but in a good way: slowly I’m getting the idea that the paintings work in the same way. You think you know what you are looking at, until you have to admit that the work escapes from your interpretation. The ground under your feet is gone and you have to look again; you have to keep looking.
A good example is the painting Moment: next to eacher other are a round, black form, a vertical, red-brown shape and a vertical, slightly dark-brown form. On top of the middle shape is a black ball: a boulder, as seen in Looney Tunes cartoons in which a coyote tries to catch the bizarrely fast bird Roadrunner by crushing it with that rock.
Moment by Cornelia Bruinewoud
Bruinewoud's reclined boulder looks like it can roll down any moment. Above the mountain on the right, a bird is flying: it is depicted in a schematic way, as a V-shape made of two wings - just as you often see them in the sky.
I’m thinking: this is still quite a figurative painting. But then that left form draws my attention again, seemingly floating in the air. Is it a black cloud, or am I looking at a piece of land from above? Does Bruinewoud bring different perspectives together, or are these mountain peaks actually lying pieces of land? Is that bird really a bird?
Written by Maarten Buser
Maarten Buser (author / gallery assistant)
'InTime documenten van een langzame tijd is an exposition about the riddle of time; a visual research into that. Naturally, that mystery can not only be done from art approached, but also from areas such as physics and philosophy. That is why special guests were invited during the exhibition to talk about their experience with time from their own background.