As artists, we have to be critical of the materials we use and the value we attach to them, which is an unmistakable part of our society. As a painter I therefore look at the value of the materials and their value within their medium. This approach has several outcomes. That is why my visual language cannot be classified in one fixed form at first sight. This is typical of a society characterized by a large production of images. In this analytic approach I try to answer the variable outcomes of a question by working in series. At the same time, the acceptance of the imperfections of material treatment is a conscious choice: through human intervention, the outcome will never be completely perfect. By paying explicit attention to the paradox between the scientifically repeatable and the human imperfection, I still maintain - sometimes through small elements - a form of liveliness in the work. In this way I consciously place my work in the minimalist tradition.
The question "how does the combination of light, space and time relate to the static image?" Is central to the current development of my artistic practice. Light is one of the main conditions of a painting, but at the same time it is one of the most common elements in our daily life. We surround ourselves by (artificial) light with the use of smartphones, laptops or lamps in the evening, when the natural light disappears behind the horizon. Our relationship to light therefore determines how we experience time, just like space or its absence. The distorted reflexivity in my work abstracts the real world, and so the world becomes part of the work. This means that the work is in a constant flux of movement throughout the day, which gives meaning to the moment when the viewer reads the work. In this way, the element of time creeps into the work. Time and space are, as Einstein stated, one whole.
S.E.A.S. - Scharpoord Experimental Art Space, CC Scharpoord, Knokke-Heist / 1.3 - 28.4.2019
In the 19th century, a fierce dispute raged in French painting between those artists who attach great importance to the correct line or drawing in the first place, and those who consider color the most important element of a painting. The classicist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) is then respectively opposite the romantic Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). The discussion paves the way for modern art. For Delacroix, the ultimate challenge was how to paint light with colors. Somewhere in his extensive Journal (1822-1863) or diary, he writes: "There are no shadows, only reflections." Delacroix therefore no longer paints the shadows in his canvases with black or dark brown tones. Stijn Van Hoof takes the revolutionary statements of Delacroix as the starting point for his painting and paints light with colors.
Painting usually brings us static images. In our times, dynamic in all areas, Van Hoof's paintings are plastic answers to the question of how painting can harmonize with our contemporary, dynamic experience of light, time and space. By integrating reflective materials such as copper foil, graphite powder or light-interfering pigments, Van Hoof creates canvases that always reveal other aspects of light and colors to the moving spectator. Whether the colors that the viewer perceives thanks to Van Hoof's canvases originate from paint and thus from matter, or from a reflection of light, cannot be determined immediately. Another consequence is that the paintings appear much less massive than they really are. They seem to be self-effacing in favor of increased optical appearance.
As a contemporary artist, Van Hoof wants to deal critically with materials and their values, both in terms of their materiality and inherent physical qualities, and in terms of their symbolism. His paintings thus show an ever-changing flux of movements. The static, pictorial image of once adapts to the dynamics of contemporary society. Painting as a mirror of the times, thanks to painters such as Delacroix, who have repeatedly ignored the conventions of their time.
For his exhibition in S.E.A.S. Van Hoof realizes on one of the existing walls on site a temporary but all the more dynamic pictorial image that indirectly 'colors' its surroundings and the exhibition, including the other paintings.
Stijn Van Hoof was born in 1992 in Mechelen. Today he lives and works in Brussels. He became Master of Fine Arts at LUCA - School of Arts, Sint-Lukas Brussels campus in June 2018.