Scenarios of Desire

Interview with artists Koen Delaere and Bas van den Hurk

The ideal Friday scenario? The opening of the exhibition ‘Scenarios of Desire’ by the Dutch artists Koen Delaere and Bas van den Hurk today, August 25, 2017, makes a great candidate. At CCA Andratx, surrounded by the mountains in Mallorca, the exhibition confronts the old statement ‘painting is dead’ by showing that contemporary painting is very much alive. It is not about providing answers, it is about creating poetry through visual stories which shines through in this interview with the two artists.

Bas van den Hurk

Your exhibition ‘Scenarios of Desire’, taking place from August 25 to December 17, 2017, at CCA Andratx in Mallorca, confronts the old statement ‘painting is dead’. In which way does the exhibition challenge and question painting as something static?
The value of contemporary painting lies not in its meanings or even in its actions, but rather in its unlimited potential for staging meanings and actions.

How did you come up with the title ‘Scenarios of Desire’, and can you elaborate a bit on its meaning in the context of your exhibition?
(Imagine a new kind of dancing): Tics, spasms, twitches and jerks, agitation of bodies broken down into separate components. Reintegrated. At the level of the dance floor as a whole. Each individual part, a cog in a collective desiring machine.

What kind of scenario do you desire to facilitate with this exhibition?
We don’t want an answer nor an explanation about the negative logarithm of the concentration of free hydrogen ions, we are asking for pleasure, there is no answer, it is magic.

Koen Delaere, 2017 , Ride that dolphins and emus faster, 215 x 150 cm, cyanotype, acrylic, oilpaint on canvas.

You have been living with your families in the CCA studios throughout August 2017, leading up to the exhibition opening, How did this ‘symbiosis’, combining your identities as artists, lovers and friends, influence the exhibition process and your collaboration?
On his 1974 or 1976 album ‘Desire’ Bob Dylan sings a song for his wife and children, ’Sara’:

I laid on a dune I looked at the sky
When the children were babies and played on the beach
You came up behind me, I saw you go by
You were always so close and still within reach.

Sara, Sara
Whatever made you want to change your mind
Sara, Sara
So easy to look at, so hard to define.

With the rise of social media, it seems that painting as a medium is experiencing a revival. Works live on in new ways, being shared across digital platforms, traveling from one person to another in a hasty pace. In terms of distribution, painting is very much alive. Do you think there is a risk that this development impairs our ability to contemplate and reflect on the physicality of a painting?
John Kelsey says in his text ‘The Sext Life of Painting’ (2): ‘seeing how painting has colonized social media lately, it’s hard not to feel that there’s a sort of leaking away of the medium at the moment it’s taking on a weird and happy new life.’ And we think he is right. There is this ‘leaking away’ of the medium through paintings sole social media life that comes with emojis of clapping hands, eyeballs and fireworks, moving and signifying in a way that compresses affects into icons while outstripping critical discourse. There is this leaking away of the desire in painting.

So how to deal with this? Ours is a time in which the temporal axis has exploded, that is, there is no longer one, but a whole series of temporal axes that cross the axis of global space at irregular intervals. There is a multitude of competing and overlapping temporalities, within every singular work as well as in the world at large. A friction field of competing forces. For us, intelligent touch stands for a model in which we bring back this friction that necessary comes with desire. The desire to deal with opposing powers. Multiple forces in one field. But linear, rational models are exhausted here. Intelligent touch is about the intelligence of intuition, affect, desire and touching, being minimal as intelligent as our ratio. A model that is open to opposed feelings, sensations, experiences, intuitions, a model open to poetry. Not an if/if model, but one that goes beyond binary oppositions.

Bas van den Hurk
Koen Delaere, 2017, Freak Scene, 215 x 150 cm, enamel, acrylic, gouache on canvas

What is your relation to and use of social media in terms of your artistic practice and your life in general?
Social media are to us like a toaster or a TV. A device.

When do you think a painting becomes most fully alive? In the studio in the hands of the artist, or in the meeting between the artwork and its audience?
What is interesting to us about a painting is that it can hold simultaneously different thoughts, ideas, feelings. This is where it becomes most fully alive. Where it happens is not important.

If painting is always ‘on the move’, in constant transition, where do you think it is heading?
Painting can overcome binary relations and reconcile a more mutual exchange of feelings, of love and friendship. In the Quotididian, Nabokov describes how a viewer walks into a painting and feels how the texture of the paint engulfs him.

Bas van den Hurk
Koen Delaere

About CCA Andratx
CCA Andratx was founded by Jacob and Patricia Asbæk the in 2001. The 4.000 m2 building has a minimal but traditional style, which is perfectly integrated in the breath-taking, natural scenery of its surroundings. CCA is one of the largest centres of Contemporary Art in the Balearic Islands as well as in the rest of Europe.

An artist-in-residence program is open to national and international artists, where four studios are available to artists for a period of four weeks. Over 500 artists from 20 different countries have already benefited from this program.

Calle Estanyera 2
07150 Andratx

Tel: (+34) 971 137 770
Email: [email protected]