Job Koelewijn

° 1962

Lives in Amsterdam (NL), born in Spakenburg (NL).

Job Koelewijn discovered his passion for art only in his early twenties, when he started to paint and draw while recovering from a serious road accident. He then trained at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, finishing his time there in 1992 with a famous end-of-year performance. His mother and three of his aunts, dressed in traditional Spakenburg outfits, set about cleaning the windows of the Gerrit Rietveld Pavilion, attached to the school. On the one hand this action refers to Koelewijn’s hometown of Spakenburg and the Reformed education there, and on the other hand to the end of his student days. Such references to his roots and family background are often present in Koelewijn’s oeuvre. In his recent work we see the autobiographical aspect coming more-and-more to the fore, but always in a way that never gets overly personal. It always remains recognizable for the viewer. And the viewer is directly addressed by the artist’s imagination: he stimulates the different senses with materials that include baby powder, dry spaghetti, bouillon cubes, candy, eucalyptus and green soap. Furthermore, he comes very close to the visitor, by intervening in the (visitors’) space itself and not limiting himself to the frame on the wall or the place on the pedestal. The choices that Koelewijn makes here are always minimal and precise. Woven together with the autobiographical are wider themes such as life and death, departing and making a fresh start, alongside references to Koelewijn’s great examples from the visual arts and literature. The photographs, videos and installations are thus not easy to put under a single heading, but they almost invariably all play with the notions of time and space. Space is certainly something that enormously fascinates the artist: for Koelewijn, space is not a purely material given. For him, the character of his rooms, exhibition spaces or galleries also goes to make the atmosphere, and can influence our thoughts and moods. Since the very outset of his artistic career, Koelewijn has manipulated spaces and our experience of them. In fact, the verb ‘to experience’ remains the guiding principle of his oeuvre.

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