1. Bas Coenegracht
Contemplation, absence, spirituality and dreams.
Let's kick off with an introduction!
Hi, my name is Bas Coenegracht. Born in Maastricht and currently living and working in Amsterdam as a painter. I ﬁnished my studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2004 and have been working with various galleries ever since.
Bas, what is art and why is art needed?
Art can be something very different for each person, it is something you give meaning to yourself through your own experience. Through my paintings I engage with our contemporary reality, creating new narratives that contemplate the position of the individual in the bigger scheme of things.
Being an artist, what were the most important milestones in your career?
Visiting “Coming from the Subway” at Groningen museum in 1992, studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy from 2000 to 2004 and visiting Peter Doig’s “Charley’s Space” at Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht in 2003.
What has touched you recently?
The paintings by Noah Davis at the Arsenale, Venice Biennale.
Which is your favourite museum?
No discussion: Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht
Who or what inﬂuences/inﬂuenced you?
How do you deﬁne "success" for an artist?
Success for an artist is being able to have an active art practice. From here everything originates: exhibitions, collaborations, sales, networks, friendships, visibility.
How would you describe your art?
Visually and painterly I try to bring together abstract and realistic approaches.
Content changes focus slowly but always has a strong introverted human element. Contemplation, absence, spirituality/dreams, how does the individual engage with his/her environment.
What worries you, what gives you hope?
The highly individualistic state of the world worries me. Friends, family and the arts give me hope.
How did you get to where you are today?
Always trying to develop my painting further and conntiously producing new work.
Having had great support and collaborations with various galleries that each helped my career advance. The Dutch “Mondriaan Fonds” has on various occasions generously supported my practice, making experiment possible and broadening my network.
Welcome at LeCharbonnage. Do you have any expections or goals in mind?
At Le Charbonnage I will continue my current series of work where I place realistic ﬁgures in a more abstracted background. In recent work I have been using this to create a dynamic between the ﬁgures and their surroundings. The abstract textured surroundings suggest a translation of, or contrast to the inner state of the depicted ﬁgure, and so determine a big part of the “mood” of the work. I want to investigate these abstracted and textured shapes that I use and see how they could gain more meaning.
For instance: In some recent paintings I have been looking at the idea of absence. Two people in an embrace where one of the ﬁgures dissolves into painterly shapes, the shapes occupy the space where the person used to be, thus rendering the abstraction more meaningful and the absence more expressive.
My expectation for this concentrated work period is developing a new series of work that will function as an inspiring kick oﬀ for the year 2023. I have a lot of ideas and paintings I want to make this year. This residency will help provide ﬁnding and ﬁne-tuning some of the new tools and techniques I am looking for and need for making that happen.
I will also make use of being in Limburg, inviting collectors and others from this area to visit the studio.
The work I will be making and the contact we will have together will hopefully also determine whether or not we can continue our collaboration.