Archives of Text

CONTINUALLY DISCONTINUOUS text by Steven Baris (blog post by Steven Baris)

Continually Discontinuous July 13, 2022 The Artworks of Nelleke Beltjens, Lisa Corinne Davis, and Emma Langridge Just can’t stop obsessing about flow (or more technically, “flow state”). I’m clearly not alone as it has garnered considerable attention since it was conceived in the mid 70s by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihály. He coined the term to […]

Ein wunderbares Ganzes (in German and Dutch)

Exhibition project at Kunstverein Projektraum Bahnhof25, Kleve, Germany Text by: Heiner Frost Mehrwert Am kommenden Samstag, 5. November, wird um 17 Uhr eine Ausstellung mit Werken von Nelleke Beltjens und Marga Knaven eröffnet und es sei gleich gesagt: Das Hingehen lohnt sich – das Hinsehen erst recht. Da treffen zwei unterschiedliche Positionen aufeinander, die zusammen […]

PRESENTLY project text 2022

PRESENTLY. Sarah Walker, Nelleke Beltjens, Thomas Kemper   Even a superficial glance at the works of Sarah Walker, Nelleke Beltjens, and Thomas Kemper reveals clear differences between them in terms of technique and formal language. Over many years, the three artists have each developed their own conceptions of pictoriality and corresponding artistic procedures. The three […]

Nelleke Beltjens by Rollin Beamish

Can the sleeper awaken? In characteristic fashion, Dutch artist Nelleke Beltjens, in the title of her new exhibition, “I dreamt I was sleeping”, casts a metaphorical, even narrative veil over work that might at first appear completely non-objective. The phrase suggests a shifting viewpoint – a parallax effect – evoking a mutation of perception perhaps reminiscent of a topological deformation. Indeed, the artist consistently expresses interest in the notion of the immanent becoming of worlds, and reflects through her work upon emergent possibilities, be they personal, social or ecological. However, the work itself is produced through formal strategies that mirror the ambiguities of this (Deleuzian) becoming, ‘infecting’ it, so to speak, with the contradictions of the (Hegelian) cut. This reminds one perhaps of the trauma of human agency; the ability and necessity to decide.

Canary in a Coal Mine

It often begins with a presence that is simultaneously an absence. Using the edge of a piece of scratch paper as a guide, a fragmented line is produced by making a series of short marks in ink from the scratch paper onto the work surface. This process is repeated, forming more lines that are networked into increasingly dense and complex aggregates. It is noteworthy that at least half of the material basis for these aggregate forms is never seen and thus hangs over the work, a specter felt through the weight of its absence. It is an ‚externality‘, as it were, that is easily ignored, though to do so is to risk overlooking perhaps the most compelling aspects of the work while glossing over the many questions evoked by this tension.

What does it mean to orient oneself in drawing?

Remarks on the drawings of Nelleke Beltjens by Peter Lodermeyer. I. In the proper meaning of the word, to orient oneself means to use a given direction (when we divide the horizon into four of them) in order to find the others—literally to find the sunrise. Now if I see the sun in the sky and I know it is now midday, then I know how to find south, west, north, and east. Immanuel Kant, What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking?1 The aspirations are high: “I am practicing life, and my own work is a great ‘guide’ while everything is in continuous movement. [...] My work teaches me. It is ahead of me in a way. It brings me to the next step, a ‚higher’ level, makes me grow.”2 This statement by Nelleke Beltjens in an interview of 2009 suggests an astonishing trust in the power of art, even though she does not espouse the avant-garde utopia of the merging of art and life (let alone the simple understanding of art as a mere reflex of life). As surprising as the statement may sound, it can hardly surprise us that it refers to drawing, since this genre of art has always been a particularly suitable medium of orientation. A person looking for orientation in order to “take the next step”, regardless of the field of creativity, will have a preference for the medium of drawing. With draughtsman’s means, we satisfy ourselves concerning the proportions of an object to be designed, the structure of a building, the cut of a piece of clothing, the dance steps of choreography …

Flows and Interruptions

Alexandra Roozen and Nelleke Beltjens Pencil on paper – this drawing technique, overall one of the simplest, clearest, and oldest, lies at the core of the work of Andrea Roozen. Drawing with pencil is a constant source of wonderment for this artist, and is consequently time and again the object of artistic experimentation. Thus, in […]