This spring, Kunsthal Rotterdam is presenting the exhibition ‘Brined Herring, Red Beet’, an encounter between furniture and product designer Ineke Hans and visual artist Erik Mattijssen. In eighteen colourful scenes they intuitively react to each other’s work. For the exhibition, the artists were inspired by everyday objects that tell a story and by their shared love of interiors. Mattijssen’s two-dimensional works seem to continue into the three-dimensional space as a result of the chairs, baskets, crockery, and other objects designed by Hans. The visitors are greeted by poetic combinations of paintings and objects in vibrant colours. ‘Brined Hering, Red Beet’ is a lively journey of discovery through spatial still lifes in art and design.
During their pas de deux, Ineke Hans and Erik Mattijssen complete, intensify, question or comment on each other. Colour, form and meaning connect 2D-works with 3D-objects in the exhibition. Although their bodies of work are very different, and they have only recently met, there are many similarities to be discovered: Hans and Mattijssen are both storytellers and ardent collectors. Apart from new and existing work of their own, Hans and Mattijssen have also added objects from their personal collections to the exhibition, items they lovingly refer to as ‘cuckoo’s eggs’. These fascinating, everyday, strange and striking objects result in extraordinary combinations that always seem to work out. The work ‘Izrael, l’épicerie du monde’ combines three elements: a painting of a multicoloured grocery shop by Mattijssen, a composition of dishes and jugs by Hans, and collected elements such as a glass toadstool and lace swans. It is a work your eyes can linger on for hours. ‘Brined Herring, Red Beet’ is an inviting exhibition that feels like the sun shining on your face and offers you a chance to let your thoughts float away for a little while.
Ineke Hans: common sense and sustainability
The designs of Ineke Hans (1966) are accessible and special at the same time. Common sense and sustainability dominate her innovative designs. She is constantly thinking about what she, as a designer, might still be able to add to the things that already exist, and what the needs of contemporary users are. She designed furniture for offices, for instance, that have increasingly become more like meeting places and are suitable for new ways of working. She also designed soup bowls with spoons that fit into their handles, making it easier to eat while sitting on the sofa. Hans’s ‘Frugal films’ (2020), also shown in the exhibition, eloquently express her design philosophy through animations of projects in which materials are used as efficiently as possible. One example of this is two folding tables made from just one sheet of standard plywood.
Erik Mattijssen: colourful melancholy
Erik Mattijssen’s (1957) still lifes and interiors in gouache and pastels are bursting at the seams with buzzing colours. Like a collage, he stacks and organizes pans, textiles, baskets, furniture and groceries on his canvases, to such an extent that they reinforce each other and make each other shine. His melancholy works evoke recognition and personal memories. Mattijssen enjoys working in different locations around the world and has lived in places like Ireland, Spain, Surinam and India for some time. In his work this becomes manifest in the light that never seems to shine in the same way on his interiors. Mattijssen was recently nominated for the NN Art Award 2021.
The exhibition is realized in close collaboration with Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen and is based on the exhibition ‘Yellow as Lemon, Red as Tomato’. Because of the COVID-19 measures, visitors only had a limited opportunity to visit the exhibition there, and for that reason it is now given a second life at Kunsthal Rotterdam.
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