Patrick Bergsma, Gems, 2017, Galerie Franzis Engels.
It is well known that there is a romantic beauty hidden in decay, but in order to discuss your own demise you also need humour. Patrick Bergsma's meticulously executed miniature landscapes confront us in a light-footed way with our interaction with the earth and the downside of our consumer society.
More, More, More
Artist Patrick Bergsma depicts our consumerism in the form of a child's shopping cart. More, more, more can be read on the bar of the shopping cart. The cart itself is filled with a man-sized rock formation that is polluted with all kinds of colourful plastic: bags, discarded toys, balloons, straws, clothing labels. The waste of our consumer society. At the very top of the mountain, nature takes over again: despite everything (bonzai) trees grow and someone in a telephone booth call for help. But who can you call if you have a problem of this magnitude?
Patrick Bergsma, Wake-up call, 2019, Galerie Franzis Engels.
Gallerist Franzis Engels originally intended to make this exhibition last year, but she was forced to postpone it due to the pandemic. With the end in sight, she wants to turn attention to an issue that could potentially dwarf the current pandemic in terms of magnitude: climate change, our dealings with nature and the exploitation of the earth.
These themes have played an important role in Patrick Bergsma's work for many years. In his new series of works, consisting of miniature landscapes with bonza trees, he focuses on the far-reaching urbanization and the associated alienation from nature and our consumer society. Most of the works hang like drifting ice floes in the gallery space. They each tell a story, but the installation as a whole also gives a picture of what awaits us according to Bergsma. In addition to Bergma, Engels also invited gallery artist Leon van Opstal and Anutosh to reflect on those themes.
Patrick Bergsma, Wederopbouw, 2017, Galerie Franzis Engels.
The exhibition’s theme may be serious, but Bergsma's work is certainly not devoid of humour or depressing in any way. In fact, at first glance the work looks light-hearted and cheerful. If you look longer, you will then see the inevitable demise of mankind, and then you’ll notice that in the end everything will turn out fine.
A good example of this is the work Wederopbouw (Reconstruction), a title which of course refers to the period immediately after the Second World War. At the bottom you see a building that has been overgrown by nature. On top of that a bonzai tree and a small but powerful female figure with a basket that seems to have been lifted straight of a socialist realistic painting.
Wederopbouw is not only a tribute to all the women who cleared debris immediately after the war, but also a preview of the moment when nature has taken back control and man only plays a serving role. This limited role of humans is also reflected in Crash, for example, in which a man freed a tree from the car that hit him.
Patrick Bergsma, Crash, 2017, Galerie Franzis Engels.
The group exhibition The Beauty of Decay (De schoonheid van het verval) with work by Patrick Bergsma, Anutosh and Leon van Opstal can be seen until Saturday 8 May at Galerie Franzis Engels in Amsterdam.