The twice yearly KunstKamer, held in a wonderful five-hundred-year-old canal-side private house on Delft’s grand Oude Delft canal, has become one of the high-spots of the social and artistic calendar in the city.
Each November and May Ramon Dykgraaf and his partner Marc Cals throw open their doors to the public to show the work of five or 6 artists. The shows are organised with Joke Doedens and Simone Haak who run Terra, a ceramics gallery in Delft.
The current exhibition shows the work of painters Tamara Muller and Manu Baeyens, sculptor Marc Janssens, ceramicist Guy Van Leemput and the collages of Dorine van der Ploeg.
As we have come to expect, the standard is incredibly high with the two painters, for obvious reasons, dominating. Although two very different artists, I liked them both. Baeyens’ paintings are bold in colour and composition, mainly portraits and they have a great vitality to them. I particularly liked the one just inside the house’s entrance hall.
Tamara Muller’s work, although also portraits, is a very different kettle of fish. Her colours are subtle – even her large oil and acrylic on canvas A Deer and a Gentleman has a subtle, almost a water-colour quality to it. The enlarged heads of her subjects often look as though they have been collaged on, her drawing sometimes almost naïve. I really liked these pictures.
I know it’s maybe not an artistic term, maybe a word one would normally see in an art review but I think the word ‘weird’ would apply to the sculptures of Marc Janssens – but weird in good way. His pieces are figurative and all beautifully textured – there is a meter-high figure standing in the window which has a piece of bright red plastic over his head, holding an old leather boot in one hand and a fox’s head in the other. Another figure is strapped into some sort of contraption – a flame thrower or weed killer? These figures are lost souls, dazed and wandering in a strange world that is not their own. Loved them.
Dorine van der Ploeg’s collages are very attractive, depicting warm, welcoming landscapes with lots of greens, yellows and browns. They very much put me in mind of David Hockney, especially of his recent work in Yorkshire.
Guy Van Leemput’s very fine, basically round bowls have a simplicity and lightness to them which makes them very attractive.
The ground floor of Ramon and Marc’s house provides the perfect exhibition venue. Many of the original features are still in place, including two early plaster chimney breasts and a kitchen containing an ancient brick solid fuel stove.
KunstKamer started when Joke and Simone celebrated the thirty-year anniversary of their gallery by creating a chambre d’amis which took place in several houses including the one in the Oude Delft house and from that KunstKamer was born.
If you missed this one, the next KunstKamer will be in May 2020 and will feature Chinese artists alongside European artists who have worked in, or been influenced by, China. Michael Hasted 2nd November 2019