PROJECT 01 TO THE END OF THE WORLD OR TO THE EDGE OF THE PAPER
Jos van Merendonk & Bob Law
06-03-16 > 22-05-16.
Parts Project opens to the public with To the End of the World or to the Edge of the Paper. The exhibition brings together the work of Bob Law and Jos van Merendonk: two men, two generations, two draughtsmen who paint, two artists who create and define space.
The work of Bob Law (1934–2004), little-known in the Netherlands, shows a minimalist, conceptual character. His work is clear and expressive, at once robust and poetic: there are schematic, almost primitive landscapes drawn in powerful pencil lines; drawings made up of a single line that seems to explore the edges of the paper; paintings with a carefully built-up layer of paint and a subtle line that follows the shape of the canvas. All Law’s work can be traced back to Fields, a late-1950s series of drawings exploring his relationship to the surrounding landscape. His complex quest to understand himself in relationship to the rest of the world is always at play in his deceptively simple work.
Jos van Merendonk (b. 1956) studied the work of Law’s generation in art school. In a bid to sidestep the debate around the possibilities of painting, he decided to created his own visual language. He made a neutral drawing of a pendulum, an oval and a Z-shape, entirely free of references. Thirty years later, it continues to serve as the basis for all his work. Van Merendonk continually reinterprets the same three shapes in green paint. The result is a cornucopia of paintings: a fine mesh of carefully painted lines; an accumulation of wild blobs of paint; wobbly sprayed lines; a subtle drawing scratched into paint. Within the limitations he has imposed on himself, Van Merendonk grants himself remarkable freedom. For To the End of the World or to the Edge of the Paper, Van Merendonk has made a mural within which various existing paintings are displayed.
Bringing together these two artists – in a personal collection and in this exhibition – is a collector’s act of intuition. Law’s simple black-and-white works and Van Merendonk’s monochromatic green canvases constitute a daring visual combination. Both artists’ work demands concentration on the part of the viewer. They invite us to spend time in a liminal space, to which we are transported between the lines of the painting or drawing. They take us to the end of the world and the edge of the paper.
The exhibition derives its title from David Batchelor’s essay “Bob Law 1999/2009”, in Bob Law: A Retrospective (London: Ridinghouse, 2012).