BorzoGallery and GRIMM
proudly present a solo exhibition
at EXPO CHICAGO 2018 of
GER VAN ELK (1941-2014)
When Attitudes Become Form, the legendary 1969 exhibition of Concept Art by Harald Szeemann in Bern, Switzerland marks the first comprehensive show of this international movement with roots in both Europe and the USA. With artists such as Bas Jan Ader, Marinus Boezem, Jan Dibbets and Ger van Elk, Holland was a prominent ‘partner’ in this exhibition.
Due to his father’s position at the Hanna Barbera Studios in Los Angeles, the young Ger van Elk spent several extended periods in Los Angeles. He soon became close friends with kindred spirits as John Baldessari, Gilbert & George, Willam Leavitt and Alan Ruppersberg. Van Elk studied art history at university for some years and developed a profound interest in old master painting. As a result, he started to combine (landscape) painting, photography and film in his work as an artist.
'What I want is a realistic depiction of non-realistic situations', Van Elk once noted in an interview. From this idea and his art historical interest for the ‘Dutch Landscape’ a number of works are created starting in the mid-nineteen-nineties with the Kinselmeer, a lake just above Amsterdam, as their subject. There Van Elk took photographs of the water, the land on the horizon and the sky. He used a computer and brush, ink and paint to manipulate these photographs in order to then produce transparencies. And as if wishing to remove the non-physical element of the horizon, he slices the image ‘horizontally’ through the middle and mounts both sections at a slight diagonal angle to each other in plexiglass, thereby creating a vaguely disconcerting image. The fact the the horizon also has an additional, metaphysical meaning for Van Elk, in particular that of a horizon that things can loom over or, conversely, disappear behind, makes these ‘horizon works’ especially characteristic of his oeuvre.
AS IS AS WAS – AS WAS AS IS
As is as was – As was as is, as so often in Van Ek’s work, is about saying good-bye, about arrival and departure, about coming into the picture and then vanishing from it. At the two locations of Borzo Gallery and Grimm Gallery in Amsterdam Van Elk had female models move between a central point in the space and a work of art on each wall. Appearing and then disappearing, from clear and in-focus to diffuse and blurred, facing you and then facing away. It’s going to be very beautiful, loving, he said, when you view it at another level they are just like painted portraits.
'As is as was – As was as is' encompasses the whole life of an artist, Van Elk’s relationship with women and then (unwillingly) saying good-bye….
It is therefore that both Jorg Grimm and Paul van Rosmalen have great pleasure in bringing this solo exhibition of ‘late works’ by their mutual friend Ger van Elk to the Chicago public. All the more since The Art Institute holds the most prominent pointillistic painting by Georges Seurat, an artist that Van Elk highly admired and has used for some of his video screens, also present at EXPO CHICAGO.