Office Baroque is pleased to present an exhibition by Dutch artist Pieter Slagboom. This will be Slagboom’s first individual exhibition at Office Baroque. Pieter Slagboom lives and works in Middelburg (Holland). His work was the subject of recent exhibitions at Vleeshal in Middelburg (2019) and at Bridget Donahue in New York (2020). The exhibition will take place at our spaces on Everdijstraat in Antwerp from 10 November thru 10 December 2022.
Pieter Slagboom’s work only recently started to draw international public attention, when in 2019 at the age of 63, the artist created a suite of 10 larger than life drawings on canvas for the Vleeshal Art Prize exhibition. On canvasses spanning 5 meters each, Slagboom portrayed female and male giant-like figures engaged in dramatic ritual scenes of waking, (re-)birth, arousal and sexual exchange. For the project, Slagboom used a serene visual language that allowed invisible life forces to reach unfamiliar cathartic levels. The works suggested an understanding of identity as a fluid play between guidance, submission, death and renewal of subjects.
Pieter Slagboom’s monumental color pencil drawings allow us to examine conventional thoughts about identity, life and its end, depicting distance and proximity between individuals as timeless cycles of energy flowing freely in emphatic scenes of ceremonial transition. Erin Leland calls this process “the symbolic rebirth taking place among the figures, who are acting out positions of dominance and submission as they relate to gender and culture, existing in a universe unto themselves not immediately connected to the past or future. These are timeless questions.” *
Slagboom’s works are often several meters large and as a consequence, only slowly unfold in the perception of the viewer. Their monumental surface is covered with a vast, translucid network of thin, elliptical pencil lines in mostly green, pink, blue and brown hues. The chromatic softness of Slagbooms pencil lines and the brightness of the colors pose a stark contrast to the gravitas of the scenes portrayed. “Color had a dominant effect […]. The aim is for color to disengage the subject. So color here functions in a slightly unusual but important way. Form and content are revealed at different speeds […]. Its large format allowed me to design fast and slow areas […] One part of the subject reveals itself very quickly, and the other much slower.**
“Pieter [Slagboom] draws rituals in which fertility gives meaning to death. These rituals may never take place, and don’t have to. His drawings allow forbidden things to happen; things that wont happen in our reality. By dreaming of death, this death in many colours, we might live without fear. There’s nothing to be afraid of. While these colours may appear unnatural, in that they don’t reflect how our bodies look; they point to another, invisible level of nature, and the powerful forces that drive it. Sexuality is envisioned as a bright and mysterious force that twirls around all of us. A mystical part of the cosmos and the wonder and glory of life, rather than a specific desire located within the individual. A force that binds us all together from the beginning to the end of our lives.” ***
The exhibition at Office Baroque for the first time will combine monumental work on paper and on canvas with black and white graphite drawings.
* Erin Leland and Pieter Slagboom in: Pieter Slagboom, Bridget Donahue, New York, 2020
** Pieter Slagboom and Julia Geerlings in: As Long as the Potatoes grow, Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art, 2021, Middelburg
*** Dean Kissick in Pieter Slagboom, Bridget Donahue, New York, 2020