Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents the group show Dancing with Octopuses, with new paintings by artists Leo Arnold, Anders Dickson, Rezi van Lankveld, Erik van Lieshout and Lara Schnitger.
Dancing with Octopuses borrows its title from Pam Emmerik’s text on renowned Dutch artist René Daniëls: Emmerik refers to Daniëls’ mind being like an octopus that touches something before suddenly withdrawing again. In the text, Emmerik emphasizes the importance of capturing an immediate reaction over merely trying to reproduce reality.
A seminal figure, Daniëls is the focal point of a new film by Erik van Lieshout (1968, Deurne, NL), currently still in production. In the process of making the film, Van Lieshout has found himself influenced by Daniëls in unexpected ways. Freed from the constraints of his previous approach to painting, Van Lieshout has produced a range of works on canvas that directly reference Daniëls’ work. Where the works raise questions on copying, authorship and authenticity, they also fall back on tropes like the hommage and the reinterpretation of themes as well as the visual conversations that takes place between artists.
Through the selection of artists and works on view in Dancing with octopuses, the show highlights these traditions through the – at times coincidental - connections between artists. Glancing from canvas to canvas, a wider conversation takes place. Each in their own language, the artists find common ground through an intuitive approach to the medium that is marked by strong yet intimate, figurative and alluding images.
Leo Arnold (1993, London, UK) works are the result of equal parts precise and romantic observation of his immediate surroundings. He approaches and reapproaches his surroundings, often creating multiple works on one theme, to reflect on his mental space. In his capacity as advisor at De Ateliers, it was Van Lieshout who especially brought Arnold’s work to our attention.
Rezi van Lankveld (1973 Almelo, NL) harnesses the essential character of paint to create intuitive, personal images. Van Lankveld allows paint to flow onto the canvas, taking on shapes and forms of its own choosing. She takes advantage of something sufficiently evocative, a line or a shape, to contribute to the process of building an image; turning that which is perceived into that what is constructed.
It is also Van Lankveld who introduced us to the work of Anders Dickson (1988, Wisconsin, US), another former resident of De Ateliers, where Van Lankveld acts as advisor. Through the use of colour and figuration Dickson emphasises the atmospheric experience of reality creating intuitive, personal works.
By pairing techniques like dying, quilting, weaving, and sewing with tough and rebellious postures and messaging, Lara Schnitger (1969, Haarlem, NL) pushes the expressive power of traditional crafts. The works on view present the familiar theme of women represented on canvas. Where the tactility of the works is soft and inviting, the works’ graphic aesthetics lend a jarringly bold impact.
Through the works on show, Dancing with Octopuses engages with heritage and retrieves contact with the physical presence of the artists’ gesture: the inexhaustible potential of painted images, their unpredictability, and the play between perception and reality. A play ever more relevant at this historical moment characterized by restriction and the domain of the digital.
 René Daniëls. Onvermijdelijke Aantekeningen, Papierplezier, De Dichter bij de waarheid. Published in 2006, © Paul Andreisse Galerie and Stichting René Daniëls