Voorwerk 4 was the fourth exhibition in the yearly recurrent series. Voorwerk, meaning preliminary work, is Witte de With’s annual exhibition of younger artists. As a series, it seeks to provide the first substantial presentation of works by relatively unknown artists. Voorwerk 4 included works by Dutch artists Robert Zandvliet (1970) and Martin Hiddink (1965).
René Magritte wrote in 1963: “An image [text, painting, music, etc.] is not an expression of a thought. It is the thought itself, it identifies itself with that which is already thought”. These words aptly describe the work of the young Dutch artists Martin Hiddink and Robert Zandvliet.
Hiddink’s visual puzzles, in the form of objects and prints, and the monumental paintings by Zandvliet, which some-times literally refer to a film-screen, are dominated by the tension between “seeing and knowing”.
For the series Finestra sul mondo (Window on the World) (1992), Hiddink described real and fictional works of art and exhibitions to an illustrator of a popular Italian magazine, Club enigmistico. Following the free interpretation of the anonymous artist, Hiddink created his own images by means of reproduction techniques. La nascita del dolore (The Birth of Pain) (1992), one of the works depicted in Finestra sul mondo, was subsequently realized three-dimensionally by Hiddink. Wine, oil and water flowed out of vases shaped like stylized faces, coloring and scenting the surrounding exhibition space. Just like the sudaria named after St. Veronica that Hiddink also presented in Witte de With, the grotesque vases functioned as indexes.
Robert Zandvliet is not interested in a true resemblance, his paintings are reincarnations of objects. At Witte de With his depictions of simple, everyday things like a railway carriage, a shelter, a street lamp, a windowpane, and a car mirror affected the viewer as if they were symptoms of the way people look. Zandvliet tries to identify the process of seeing by making the act of viewing lead to recognition and knowledge. How he applies paint to his canvases also contributes to this process. Sometimes the results remind us of skin, sometimes of a mirror; opacity and transparency take turns. Zandvliet’s paintings evoke memories of images we thought not important, or which we forgot.