Joncquil, MID – LIFE – CAREER – QUESTE; Galerie Ramakers, The Hague

It has been said before in these columns: absurdism north of the Belgo-Dutch border leads a secluded existence.

Though it might be misunderstood here, it is nevertheless omnipresent.

Joncquil (1973) is one of the few Dutch artists who knows that the absurd has to be tackled on its own terms.

However, to label Joncquil an absurdist artist would typically be the fatal verdict of an art historian who pigeonholes a whole oeuvre with one word.

After all: “The best things of the past will be the worst things of the future”, to quote the title of a Joncquil painting that sais nothing but HA HA HA HA.

And there it is again: the absurd.

You try to classify the work of an artist and it laughs at you.

You might praise the work of an artist, but all your efforts to do so may seem useless, or even wrong and abject in future.

To show a work with such a title and with such a content is distinctive for Joncquil’s modest midlife career exhibition, presently at Galerie Ramakers.

As such it is not just midlife absurdism, because there is more in the painting.

There are the sinewy handwritten capitals HA HA etc. and there is the faint but shiny yellow background that seems to have a life of its own.

To call Joncquil an absurdist would deny his specific interest in light and colour, especially where colour shines or faintly glimmers and loses its shape; where colour becomes space.

It would deny his interest in modernist furniture that suddenly gains meaning when used as a character.

Indeed, the absurd is always round the corner, and it can’t be denied that Joncquil gives the absurd world a taste of its own medicine, but there is more than that.

Or there is nothing….

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© Villa Next Door 2022

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Joncquil and Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

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