March’s pick of the curator
By Liv Vaisberg
This work belongs to the series “The Quiet ” of painter Wouter van de Koot. His work usually functions in series. He likes to use himself and his friends as models/actors in carefully arranged performances, projecting personal fantasies and fears into the characters he creates. These ‘performances’, done without an audience, are captured in photo’s which form the source of his work. He then takes the character out of its context and repeats it again and again with different media (ink, watercolour, oil) each time applying small variations and angles of approach.
For The Quiet, he uses the almost mythical figure of the Surgeon, as a life saving hero. The Surgeon has to use a knife with the same dexterity and precision as the Knight or a Ninja Warrior and he bears the same weight on his shoulder as regard decision making and lifesaving. But here, this image also echoes an auto-biographical element of Wouter’s life as he painted this series during the pregnancy of his wife. The image may suggest a baby being held, projecting a sense of expectation or loss. This ‘cutting’ out of elements is a recurring aspect of his paintings. When elements are cut out in Wouter’s work, it is never by accident, but it is the absence of an element that maps its presence.