‘Encounter № 20’
Ton van der Laaken and Pieter Bijwaard

11 May 2014 - 13 July 2014

‘ENCOUNTER № 20’ brings together the artistic stances of two artists, Ton van der Laaken and Pieter Bijwaard. In this fast-moving age of visual abundance, the artists seek a poetic, calm approach.

Hanging at De Ketelfactory is Ton van der Laaken’s felt cocoon into which the visitor can withdraw. Sitting in the space of the cocoon allows him or her to become rid of mental images. One’s stream of thought is not set in motion but drained, transformed and brought to a tranquil state. This experience has given rise to a series of drawings that are included in the exhibition. The drawings show ‘potential moments of emergence’.

Pieter Bijwaard is showing, among other works, his five-part piece ‘Frequencies’, comprised of 42,525 hand-punched and painted puzzle pieces.

Ton van der Laaken

The works of Ton van der Laaken are ‘silent interventions’, mental spaces that take the shape of installations, photographic works and drawings. Van der Laaken lives and works in Arnhem and Düsseldorf. Over many years he has gathered impressions of the way in which light is manifest in empty spaces. These impressions were then set down by him in various media. On his frequent trips he has photographed the light in void spaces, such as empty corners, factories, bunkers, excavation sites in Egypt, monasteries, a prison and a parking garage. Since 1996 he has been teaching ‘Experimental visual and spatial concepts’ at the University of Applied Science in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Pieter Bijwaard

It isn’t easy to define the work of Pieter Bijwaard, whose work involves many styles and techniques — loose, taut, colorful, black-and-white, figurative and abstract. Yet each image is the distinct product of one maker. Beneath the form of each work, regardless of the technique being used, lies an almost tangible world.
What the work is about remains a mystery, but the image perceived brings the viewer to a mysterious and intense place. The image can be austere, but also complex and stratified. Experimentation and skill go hand in hand, so that the work exudes lively workmanship. The artist always maintains the liberty to investigate and to change. What all of his works have in common is their format (32.5 x 25 cm). Exceptions to this are his ‘magnum opus’ ‘Frequencies’ (2009-2010) and the drawings that he produced for the many books that he made, usually in collaboration with writers and poets.

distillation ‘ENCOUNTER № 20’

Date: 15 June 2014
In collaboration with: Arien van Erkelens, Ad Groot and Wim Bosman

Arien van Erkelens on mediation
Arien van Erkelens is a philosophy graduate, specialised in metaphysics and cultural philosophy. To this day, he explores both the practice and the theory of the the various religious schools of thought. With this background as a foundation, he is a therapist for questions of the meaning of life. He has been working as a regression therapist since 1992. Arien van Erkelens speaks on meditating in the dark.

Recital by Ad Groot and Wim Bosman
Half a century of love for Indian music. They practiced together once before, in the sixties, Ad Groot on sitar and Wim Bosman on the tabla. Musicians as well as artists, they have been enjoying making music together for several years.

Ad Groot (sitar) and Wim Bosman (tabla) in a recital of Indian music.

video portrait


Frits de Coninck on the work of Pieter Bijwaard: “What initially appears to be a large, rhythmic build-up of patches of meandering colours in every direction, turns out – on a detailed level – to be a carefully structured medley of innumerable tiny elements of colour. They are shaped like pieces of a classical jigsaw, with that typical profile that only fits its counterpart in one particular way, in order to reveal that one intended image. In the hands of Pieter Bijwaard, the carefully built-up image is not one of the overfamiliar naturalistic world, but an abstract composition of colour. Together, all of these tiny elements form an open, rhythmic and constantly changing image, an autonomous image that resembles nothing to be found in the tangible world, and therefore only refers to itself.”

Frits de Coninck on the work of Ton van der Laaken: “Only upon departure do I see it. An amorphous object, a curiously small sculpture, hung high upon the wall of the living room. It is a tapered wrap of rice paper which joins the wall at the bottom. The front, much narrower than the base, is open. Yet you can’t see in, because it’s hung up high and it’s dark on the inside. It is an as of yet hard to define object, that doesn’t appear to follow a plan or take a well-considered shape. This is what it is: a form of ‘being’ that has taken on a shape in matter.”

articles (in Dutch)

Devotie in een cocon van vilt – Peter Henk Steenhuis in Trouw

De viltcocon – Boedhamagazine

Laat je niet in de luren leggen – Peter Henk Steenhuis met René Gude in Trouw

press release (in Dutch)