I was a man by now. We moved to a suburb of Paris. I could use the principles of fact and concept. And with my tuned moped I could reach a train at la Gare du Nord in 12 minutes. This is a portrait of Serge Gainsbourgh. In the background we see a bourd for tools. It is a remembered copy of the one that my father had. I can recall the fact that he was making it. He did it as a reminder for us kids, that the tools that we used of him, belonged on the board and were supposed not to get lost.
Here is another portrait of Spinoza, from about the same time as I did Gainsbourgh. Spinoza returns in my oeuvre once in a while, like liquor, but the opposite. This one I made quite unsuspectingly. I used sweet chestnuts that I had gathered in the 'Bois de Meudon', a stretch of woods near where I lived. With cocktailsticks I made the structure.
Please allow me to return to the topics fact and concept in my work.
In the assemblies, fact and concept were very close together. I produced from a mixture of actual circumstances and a concept that I got
from reading, a portrait that reflected very much me. Later I tried to determinate this process into two distinct propositions in the hope
to get a better portrait.
One is the proposition of an I in relation to the subject. The other is the proposition of a me in relation to the subject. These concepts of I and me; I differentiated from the assemblies into the paintings and the objects. In the paintings me appears in the projection of I on the subject. In the objects I appears in the projection of me on the subject.
Let us return to Paul Delvaux. In the object I projected me, in the concept of voyeurism, on him. He was the medium in which me changed in I. In this painting I projected I, in the autobiographical fact, on him. He was the medium in which I changed in me. Like Paul Delvaux, each subject of a portrait can be considered as medium. The message, that I get back from making the portrait, is my motif. Please note that the message, which can be tautologic with the medium, is a comprehension of the process. It is never obvious in advance, although it may be present at an unreflected level. Making its presence clear, that is my motive.
From this period some curious works exist. In this portrait of the speed expert Jan Thiel, a very rare coincidence of I and
me takes place. In Antwerp and Paris I tuned my old moped to reach a considerable speed. In the same manner as I did when I was a
kid. In those days I had one true hero. It was Jan Thiel. He had made with his own hands the winning moped in the Dutch 50 cc T.T., a race
for the world championship. This portrait of him holds the middle between a painting and object.
He was painted on wood, but this paint I pressed together in the middle, to form the nose. Then I painted it over with the blue and the contour.
A real bolt he keeps in his mouth. His eyes are drilled in the wood. My speed with the moped was the same as my concept of speed. I and me unite in their projection on Jan Thiel.
Izaak Walton was the author of 'The Complete Angler', the first naturalistic novel in our history. It is an autobiographical adventurous story about fishing. It is said that he wrote the book as an advertisement for his business. He made and sold iron fishing-hooks.
I made this portrait of him in '87 when we were back in Amsterdam. It is an object, representing a fishing net. Therefore it can be turned inside out. On this side I painted the portrait of Walton. We see him through the eyes of a trout, which fact is stated in the title.
When we turn the object inside out, we see a hand and a landscape. This image can be considered the concept of fishing. Now the portrait is captured at the inside. The actual object can literally be seen as Medium on which the projections of I and me took place, on each side. Now the place of I and me can be changed, because we see either me or I, and the counterpart is captured. This example shows us the full size of the concept of Medium.
At the end of 1988 I had a big exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. The discussion that followed on this event, concentrated
upon the way the work was presented, and not upon what the work presented and how. An exception however, was the invitation to get
acquainted with Gerard Reve, and to make a portrait of him. The idea for this came from his partner Joop. He thought it could be
interesting if I knew my subject from life, and not from his books only. As a consequence I stayed with both of them in France for a few
periods. Then I did the portrait.
Gerard Reve is considered to be one of the two, three greatest Dutch writers of the last century. Perhaps he wrote the most important book
of that whole period, at the age of 23. From then he developed his unparalleled style. All his titles have been controversial when
published. The term "Individuation" from the theories of Carl Gustave Jung can describe the development in his work and personality.
Apart from Schopenhauer, whose pessimistic attitude Reve reflects, Jung can be considered as the nucleus of his thinking. His work and life are a journey in the world of Carl Gustave Jung.
In France I was able to get to know Reve quite well. And I was able to use his archives. I concentrated on different periods of his life. Jungs principle of "Individuation" became my concept, that made the projection of me upon Reve possible. The paintings represent I, in the same manner as Reve creates the main character of his novels. In the strict sense of the kind of projection, these paintings belong to the field of objects. This seems reasonable, because it is a series. On this slide we see him as figure head.