Welcome to MyLatestwork,
-May 2024 (IN PROGRESS)

The project

Images are never still, they travel between different media and change in the acts of their articulation on the surface of a painting, in film, or a literary text. Tijmen Steenvoorden’s painting practice focuses on the metamorphic nature of mental images memories, dreams, imagination. They are in a constant flux, and the gesture of continuous painting comes closest to reflecting their mobile, oscillating, cloudlike quality. Paintings are usually considered finished when they arrive at one form, or a constellation of forms, and are fixed in one state, which is considered final. It is impossible to capture a dream, one can write it down, or paint it, but at the moment it is fixed in a medium or signification, it eludes us. Memories are not records. They can be an anchor point, but one that is always in motion. To picture them, to paint them, to translate them, means to render visual their process, and not only their image. It means filling gaps, layering and creating palimpsest textures, and letting surfaces melt into transparency. Overpainting on a single surface defines the image not as stable, still, or finished, but as open, and as mirroring the dynamic nature of memories. Rooms, faces, cities tremble and oscillate in the space opened between imagination and the hand, the brush, and the flow of paint.
Text written by Alena Alexandrova, June 2023

For the past few years, I’ve been exploring “The Image of Memory” (send me an email if you are interested in reading my thesis). I’ve tried different ways to give form to these “memory images.” Recently, I’ve been working on a project called “Revisiting Cubism.” I started looking into Cubism and how it relates to memory. In Fig.3, there’s a simple explanation. Cubism doesn’t show just one reality but many realities in one picture. For example, Fig.3 shows a glass on a table. In traditional painting, you’d paint what you see. But in Cubism, you show a different reality. In a way, you show what could be instead of what is now. The front, side, top, bottom, close, far, day, and night, all in one painting. In Fig.1, I tried this idea, painting the desk I had at school.

ow, onto the relationship with memory. Memories don’t follow just one timeline; they often intertwine. Imagine trying to recall the Eiffel Tower. Your memory likely consists of several images you’ve seen of the Eiffel Tower, perhaps you’ve been there, maybe even multiple times. You’ve probably seen it on TV or on a postcard. You combine all these memories when you think of the Eiffel Tower, much like in a Cubist painting. In Fig.2, you’ll find a painting I made, titled “Welcome to Egypt.” This painting encapsulates memories from my trip to Egypt. The process works as follows: I begin by recalling this trip in my mind. These images then relate to another experience, and this cycle continues. I paint all these images overlapping and beside each other, sometimes of the same object but portrayed differently. In this way, I aim not to depict a single memory of Egypt but rather the feeling or impression that Egypt has left on me.

Revisiting cubism, 2023
60 x 80 cm, Oil on canvas
Welcome to Egypt, 2023
145 x 115 cm, Oil on canvas

My Latest Work

Now that you know a bit about my way of thinking, I will share with you the process of my latest work. This work was a commission for someone I met during my graduation exhibition at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. It was a very open-ended commission. He allowed me to decide everything myself, without any constraints. After a few meetings, I began to paint. He shared many of his memories with me, which greatly interested me. Quite recently, he had moved to NDSM in Amsterdam Noord. I decided to explore this place more and together with his memories as the starting point of this painting. The question I asked myself while creating this piece was: What makes Amsterdam Noord Amsterdam Noord?

I started playing around with shapes that reminded me of Amsterdam Noord: the ferry, the Amsterdam Toren, and a lot of cranes. I have multiple methods for approaching a painting. With this approach, I have no clear plan; I let the painting guide me. I paint some shapes, trying to create a composition without focusing too much on its beauty. This way of painting feels more authentic. Unconsciously, the environment is creating itself.

I visited an exhibition of Martin Wong at the Stedelijk, and I was really impressed by his paintings full of bricks. This reminded me of Amsterdam Noord, where I bike to my studio. I pass this brick village, a whole neighborhood of houses fully made of bricks. This led me to decide it deserves a place in the painting.

Martin Wong, ‘My Secret World 1978–1981

stukje over lagen en procesen

en conclusioie