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Artist Desk

Artist Desk, 2017 - Nel Aerts

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Artist Desk, 2017

Nel Aerts  

Mixed Media
100 x 58 cm / 39.37 x 22.83 inch
Unique work in a series 10 variations, signed and numbered by the artist on a certificate

  • Medium: Textile and aluminum
  • This work is unframed but ready to be installed
  • Ships in 5 to 10 business days from Brussels (BE)

about this work

Since a few years, Nel Aerts is explicitly taking center stage in her work. During a residence in the Van Gogh house in Zundert (NL) in 2015, Aerts made a series of 100 ballpoint drawings of herself in different situations: working in her studio while smoking a cigarette, drinking wine in a bar, walking around town or lying on bed. These drawings are full of references - both to moments from art history (like Vincent Van Gogh's famous bedroom, or Marcel Duchamp's Nue en descendant l'escalier), as to her own previous work, which she integrates into the interiors or which her painted persona is drawing in different settings. Of course, these 100 drawings are not all autobiographical - the artist makes an alter-ego of herself, a figure that can stage in all conceivable situations.

Over the years that followed the residence in Zundert, the 100 drawings further developed as large textiles and paintings on canvas. In these new works, Nel Aerts plays with materials and media, and with the simplicity of the simple black and white ballpoint drawings. The works becomes bigger and more abstract, simpler in line, but also more colorful and more expressive. In one of the works from this series, the character (originally a self-portrait of the artist's work in her studio) is abstracted to such an extend, that it almost resembles one of Nel Aerts’ older expressive, colorful figures. The work Nel Aerts made specially for our latest Billboard Series is based on this last painting. It’s a small watercolor of a similar figure, drawing at a desk. Elaborating on this watercolor, Nel Aerts translated the motive of the artist desk to a series of ten unique textile collages.

Nel Aerts made this series of textile collages in the context of Billboard Series 08

about Nel Aerts

Nel Aerts moves in a freely, intuitive way between different media as painting, drawing, collage, performance and sculpture. Since a few years she focuses more often on the portrait-genre, which she visualises on paper or on wooden panels, with careful attention to the different qualities of each material. As such, she is creating a large collection (family almost) of posing subjects caught between abstract patterns and hard-edged figuration. The figures she portraits refer to both popular culture and her direct, everyday surroundings.

The self-portraits are tragicomic in the sense of the contrasts they evoke. Alternately they are desperate or funny, extra- or introverted, thought- or playful carved from wood or originated as a collage, but they are always introspective and self-relativistic.

Nel Aerts has had solo and duo exhibitions in Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Carl Freedman Gallery, London; Galleri SPECTA, Copenhagen; Horizont Gallery, Budapest; and KIOSK, Ghent.

Her work was also shown in group exhibitions such as Europe, Europe (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux and Gunnar B. Kvaran) at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Season of the Which (curated by Marie de Gaulejac) at Castillo/Corrales, Paris; Salon der Angst (curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen & Cathérine Hug) at Kunsthalle, Vienna; Un-Scene II (curated by Elena Filipovic & Anne-Claire Schmitz) at WIELS, Brussels; De Vierkantigste Rechthoek (curated by Tom Barman) at Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort; MOTinternational, Brussels; Gladstone Gallery, Brussels; and Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen.

Nel Aerts is represented by the following gallery;
click through to discover more of her work.

Carl Freedman Gallery, London

You can view more work on Nel Aerts’ own website.



Learn more about this artist