By Nancy Todd
Part of the wonderment of this show is the medieval building that served as a stage for Joachim Van Den Hurk’s large contemporary paintings. Located in Barrio Gotico, The City Government is sponsor for the show titled “Indrets,” roughly translated to mean “spaces.” Thirty foot high ceilings with massive brick arches enhance this exhibition space. No rhinestones had shown their glittery faces in this building until Van Den Hurk sparkled on the scene.
Joachim Van Den Hurk, internationally known sculpture, architect, and painter, from Auch, France and Barcelona, expands his series on “Skin.” The other part of the wonderment are his large canvases formed from color photographs of close ups of his body. His large paintings are about the relationship of our bodies in connection to our attitudes. At first, I sensed a mysterious relationship between the painter and his work. “What is this stuff?” I wondered. Then, his humor and irony slowly unfurls and speaks the truth about who he is and who we are.
Over consumption subtlety sneaks into your consciousness from 4,978 rhinestones super imposed over one of his “Skin” paintings. No this is not tacky. And, I don’t say that just because I love rhinestones. In pondering the painting from a distance, I saw that the rhinestones form part of the Dolce & Gabbana logo denoting our obsession with labels to define who we are. These sparkling gems are lined up with the precision of an architect’s hand and playfully catch the light. This not only has the viewer in awe at a distance, but draws one in to see how this canvas was created. Joachim leaves fine pencil marks on the canvas where he marked the path of the D & G logo. A precise non-preciseness. A look behind-the-scenes at the creative process.
A large painting had actual gunshots. “Blood,” paint, is smeared on another large canvas. These paintings are disturbing and provocative, which is exactly what Van Den Hurk intends them to be. As he says, “Art is to make us question and think.” He succeeds. There is also humor in his metal sculpture and with a piece of several sketches. His work for me is about balance. Playfulness and violence. Contrast. Our dichotomous society in art. Me? I’ll take the one with the rhinestones.
Centre Civic Pati Limon
Till February 6, 2009