Face To Face

“I saw the photo of myself this morning on the berlin-artparasites website from several years ago and realized today I am wearing the same paint-splattered sweatshirt,” Dutch artist Bert Van Wijk says laughing as he sets up his artwork at Idrawalot. “I think maybe it is a sign that I need to go shopping!” Although Bert has been reluctant to change his wardrobe, it seems to be the only thing which has remained constant in his life and artistic career. His solo exhibition is opening tonight, October 4th 2012, at Idrawalot, so we decided to pop on by and meet the artist in person!

The changes in Bert’s life the past few years were his inspiration for the title: “Now I’m Here” – the idea that this exhibit is only one small chapter in his artistic journey. “I wanted to create this continuity – like at this moment I was there that was what I did, but at this moment, now I am here,” explains Bert. “I used to live in Argentina, now I live here; those major life changes affect what I do.”

The Abstract Business Man

This is Bert Van Wijk’s first solo exhibition in Berlin, a collection which illustrates how his work has evolved in recent years. The works include everything from a giant painting of an unknown man in a suit with an abstract geometric shape hiding his face, to smaller black and white sketches and patterns.

The hidden-face portraits are particularly captivating with a truly unusual color palette – bright orange shades and blocks of solid grey. Bert says that the subject matter deals a lot with the idea of anonymity and individualism while highlighting the aesthetic contrast between the geometric shapes and the more organic suits. “The whole idea behind this series is that a portrait is made to display personality,” Bert says. “By putting these geometric forms over the face you cover up that personality so it creates some kind of comment on how we convey identity in our modern culture.”

The Evolution of an Artist

In addition to his striking portraits the artist also painted an entire wall of the gallery in a massive black and white pattern and there are books and prints signed by the artist for sale at the event, all designed around the idea of liquidity and artistic evolution.

So if you want to see what Bert Van Wijk is up to right now, now is your chance but better hurry because it won’t last forever. “Art is like a continuous change and this is just the moment that I am in right now,” explains Bert. “Last month I was doing something different and next month I will probably be doing something different too.”

  • Idrawalot “Now I’m Here” Bert van Wijk – Thursday October 4th 2012: 7-11:30pm.
Article written by Kirsten Hall