Step into a new world

The work of Kees de Goede (1954) never held a particular interest for me until I came across his exhibition in De Pont Museum. Kees de Goede is a Dutch artist who transforms his encounters with and his astonishment of the world around him into abstract paintings. Nature is an important source of inspiration for De Goede, so much so that he even integrates parts of it in his work. Examples of this are his canvasses stretched over a support of branches, which at several places almost appear to pierce through the linen. This method adds an illusory kind of movement to the artwork, as if a being tries to come out from the other side of the painting. Some of these works actually have a hole in the center, which contradicts the impression by reveiling there is nothing behind the linen.


Another group of paintings in the exhibition are the round canvasses. Throughout history the circle was considered to be a perfect form, because it was believed to be the form of earth shaped by God. In 15th century Italy this form (tondo) became popular in art. De Goede’s use of this form refers to this practice.

There are multiple paintings where bright colors appear to emanate from the center, drawing you in with a certain speed. They seem to take you to a different dimension, not yet visible. Although the opposite could be argued as well, instead of the inward movement these artworks could also suggest explosions, maybe even the idea of expanding matter during a big bang.


More round canvasses have been worked upon with burning candles, creating black spots on a colored surface. Remaining in a space theme they resemble our understanding of the universe with suns, planets and black holes.


The last group of works in the exhibition are De Goede’s adapted newspaper pages. They confront the spectator with the real world around us. Papers represent current topics, happenings occurring every day. De Goede seems to engage these events in a discussion by painting on the pages. He relates  them to historical events (WWII, by drawing Swastika’s all over a page), to consumerism (cars, women’s heels etc.), but also to music and other artists. With this last category De Goede creates and interesting dynamic with other works in the museum, for he refers to Marlene Dumas’s and to Anton Henning’s signature curls for instance. Both artists are also represented in the collection of De Pont.


The circular paintings already seems to evoke globes, but their renderings enhance the idea of different realities. De Goede appears to invite his audience to step into new worlds and examine them, while at the same time and maybe even in this way stimulating a critical attitude to the world around us.

10 oktober t/m 31 januari 2016

De Pont Museum
Wilhelminapark 1
5041 EA Tilburg

Photographs by author.

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