Hans Kuijs Visual artist

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Quote from: Heart and Soul From out of Hans Kuijs 2008

Kempenland Museum, Eindhoven, April 5/8 June 2008


I am a theologian and in that capacity I will give some reflections on and in the work of Hans Kuijs. It will come as no surprise that religion and church play a role in my contribution, which incidentally just created could come thanks publications written by Theo Salemink, church historian at the University of Utrecht and Chris Doude of Troostwijk, director of Zinweb .

If, after a studio visit in Leveroy drove home, scoured the at the thought of what I had seen in the studio. Because, let`s get straight to start. The work of Hans hang but exceptionally above the bank because it is so beautiful, because it is so good with your interior or because you visit a relaxing and `smooth` night of delivery. That is the work not because Hans is not. It`s always about something.


There`s also-I let the cow will also immediately but decisively by the horns! - Also an important issue for me. What can we say about the work: it is a "mer a boire", as omnipotent, meaningful and comprehensive that it is almost impossible to get a grip on.

So I opted for a slightly different angle.

I do not know if you are familiar with the work of the Belgians Albert Servaes. Albert Servaes, he died in 1966 - made, signed, shortly after the First World War, in 1919, a crossroads in a highly expressionistic style. Jesus is depicted as an emaciated man. Servaes thus referred to the victims of trench warfare. In 1920 came a booklet with suffering meditations written by Cyriel Verschaeve with expressionist drawings of suffering again Albert Servaes. The booklet-for-French drew the attention of the Hl. Office in Rome and in 1921 was a condemnation of the book, especially on the basis of the images. It also had consequences for the Cross which is now a church in Luithagen, under the smoke of Antwerp, hung. The Cross was removed and was supposed to travel. In 1952, which can be found in the monastery of the Cistercians in Tilburg (Our Lady of Koningshoeve). But only viewable by monks, he hangs namely in the cloister and not in the church there. Easter 1952 brings inter-nuncio Giobe a visit to the abbey and see the Cross hanging. A few months later the abbot receives a letter from Rome with another condemnation of the Cross and a ban there reproductions of it. And of course, such a crossroads not just hang in a monastery. Moreover one has the Cross was not stored, but in separate panels spread over various rooms of the monastery, so that it no longer could function as a cohesive Cross.

Why do I start with this story about Albert Servaes? Albert Seraves was an avant-gardist. In this brief history is something about how there from the civil society at that time to art, to avant-garde art was being watched. Thus do I silence the Catholic Church at that time as a representative of civil society.
The avant-garde art, the avant-garde, in those days, at the beginning of the 20th century, was convinced that the church, the conventional religions no longer able to `Sacred` to recall or to represent and art had to take over this task. Cubism, Dadaism, Futurism, Surrealism, Duchamp, Picasso, Braque, Magritte, Miro, Chagall are the better known names and movements therein. The response of the Church to that was dismissive. This art was no representation, no visualization of the traditional doctrine of incarnation, suffering, death and redemption, but self-realization of artists that the experience of `Nothing` in various ways wanted to avoid.
The change in the church is in the 60/70 and avant-garde art is slowly but surely seen as an object of meditation and deep. There is talk about `the primal religious character of an art that tries to penetrate to the essence of the forces behind the world of visible things present`, and `the line between heaven and earth, between the visible and the invisible, the understandable and grace. Art stands or falls with the degree to which they reveal something of the Great Mystery that is God. "That line of avant-garde seems also to find its end in the great Joseph Beuijs who died twenty years ago.

Why do I still have about the avant-garde? I said it `looks` or this movement has found an end. Because I think we see in the work here is the work of an avant-garde avant-la-lettre. When you get the concept, the ideas of Joseph Beuijs know, you judge his work as art or not. You put it down next to you, or touches you and you can not get off. This also applies to the work of Hans Kuijs. And then you come from because you no longer have the feeling that somewhere something sacred, the Holy hit or comes up. I did that with the work of Hans. His imagery, often religiously inspired, is perverse in his building, disarming in its softness, confrontational in its directness, sometimes shocking in its rawness. Rebellion, disarming, confrontational, shocking because it touches on what I hold dear, what`s mine. For me, what is dear to us, will be put in a setting, interpreted in a perspective where we put it have not seen or understood or understood. And which we only after a long time (after `deep meditation`) only a sense, feel a connection. And then, only at that point, the facet of the `Holy` her entrance.

The church accepts roughly from the late sixties avant-garde art, although as a way in which the sacred can be imagined-Aad de Haas was restored, the chapel of Le Corbusier in Romchamps received appreciation and painters such as Chagall and Léger, yet , to a lesser extent, Malevich and Matisse receive ecclesiastical approval, that does not mean that your work today or tomorrow here in the church around the corner will hang. That is reserved for artists like Judith Krebbekx or Judy van Vliet. They call their often religious imagery and color setting some kind of nostalgic emotion that seems to fit a Christian, a Catholic church, historically and culturally, just marking time to make.

You are not a religious artist: you`re too surreal, too much symbolist, it is also your strength!

The large feet, the passages and doors, boats, animals, birds and fish to dogs and rabbits, the penis and vagina, Buddha, Christ, the water and especially the eyes: all symbols, indeed, religious references to a reality that we might have expected, but also a reality by the setting in which you insert symbols, only more mysterious and mystical being. Or, like me a few weeks ago: "Is there something or there is nothing. However abstract and elusive existence. "And what do you write below" But what does it really mean? "
Indeed Hans, how should we understand our life with all its pain and desires with her basic needs and satisfactions, with its moments of happiness and loneliness, with his wealth and poverty, its contradictions and inexplicable today. "Is there something or there is nothing. However abstract and elusive existence. "

In the course of time, the Christian faith is a rather polygamous lover proved. To reproduce this lover has for centuries been constructed with philosophy. From their union was born theology. Dressed as a dogma, metaphysics and all kinds of worldview certain this theology initially world history. And even her mother, philosophy, played a secondary role for a long time. But in the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment philosophy had enough of her mother theologian-his name seemed an omen and they threw him out of the house: she herself went further as science and critical philosophy. The lover Faith was alone again. Fortunately he found in the practical reason of Kant a new lover. There was and newly born child: theopraxie. Faith as a guide for concrete action. But it soon became clear that faith and God, although there could play a role, but eventually they were not necessary.
And now, for the third time in history has "faith" again found someone to make love: art. There are even some who think they already know how their child will be called: theopathie.

Theopathie is supposedly aesthetic theology, theology which is guided by the encounter between faith and art. Now is not the head, as in theology, or the hands, acting as the theopraxie, but the senses, the heart, the place where reality and faith meet. Hence theopathie of pathos.

It is now more complicated but perhaps easier. Because I want to ask you your invitation in hand and with me first but once clear theopathie try to get what is not.
To start theopathie not only a work of art as a spiritual vehicle. Spiritual reduction is when we eg figure 23 would explain if life is a permanent big tree, every moment of life should be seen as the emergence of new life (conception-sperm-egg), new possibilities to life. Life has a soul! As you can see you will experience how much color life every time again, and shows! The artist wants to show us how precious life is!
Theopathie is not merely a work of art as a hermeneutical vehicle, which are seen as symbols and symbols that translate into our familiar meanings. See eg figure 12. You see a cross, a passage, a window and take some pictures. Hermeneutic reduction is when we would explain this drawing such as the cross stands for Christianity, the window gives light, and gives sight when you opens air, the passage refers to a life after this life. The artist has thus say that Christianity must open the windows, letting in light and air-adapt to the time, and from that moment it may be a passageway for people who want a better world.
Theopathie is not just a means to personal feelings loose. Only what I feel and meemaak the artwork is relevant. This fits well indeed in our age of individualism, but it rids us of all our actual bondage. If we look at Figure 19. These fish are big kissing lips, the convex shape, the fish itself, referring to fertility and love, the red color in which it is soaked, Freud`s interpretation of the fish as a penis: they are clear references to eroticism and I think it not important what the artist has to say it! That is sentimental reduction.

As said theopathie is not spiritual, not hermeneutic, nor sentimental reduction. But they do play a role in all theopathie, because we can not break from us here and now. We can not with other eyes than our own eyes to the world around us! We always take our own spirituality, our own feelings, our own interpretive frameworks along when we look at the world and therefore art look. Theopathie goes about how we handle. Theopathie assumes that, from the moment I look at a work of art, a space, a relationship between the artwork and me, which fosters art with me "conversation" going. In addition, it focuses on both my intellectual and emotional abilities and my senses. In that space, in that relationship, the questions to me. Questions like, "what do you see in me, what I imagined for you, what I draw working for you?" Eg. Figure 1: "Who stands behind me, who or what am I surrounded or who leaves his mark on me behind?" In Figure 17, "To whom I am when I am touched, who is there for me at a plinth, whom I worship, which is worshiped in our society? "In fig 22: `What role does femininity in my life, and how do I form? I am a mother, I`m a lover against the oppression flourishes? "In Fig 2:" Why do you see me barred? What is your prison, when you put people in jail? "In fig 16: `how do you get others, or who or what will you hit?"
But, ladies and gentlemen, the discussion in this space is not just words in a conversation that can or will be implemented. You will be self-confident in the work of Hans-regulated also the experience that you`re speechless, that the work is so powerful that the only emotions or confusion or whatever evokes. That is part of the theopathie: a work of art is always not quite grasp, there will always be a mystical moment ... It is an essential point in the theopathie!

You are not a religious artist. There is likely to discuss whether you are a religious artist. Not because you have a lot of religious symbolism, but because your art in a certain way links. The original meaning of religion is `connecting` - from the Latin "religare". However, I think you`re undoubtedly a theopathisch artist. Your art forces, calls me a reality that I can not quite grasp because they are my life and transcends reality. Even though I try what you imagine an intellectual and emotional way to understand and do I even fragments of what is holy to me, from the sacred to the track by asking questions like I just did, finally you put me next to reality , leave me my own limited vision experience. Force me my prejudices, my hopes, my preconceived feelings release. The Holy-what frightens me while fascinating, can I perceive and experience, but ultimately not contain. Your work will then supposedly the helm.
In this sense, only what I am concerned, directly in the line of the avant-garde as we knew in the 20th century.

"Is there something or there is nothing. However abstract and elusive existence. "

Hans, without its mystery to discard, you show me something of the Holy!
And I end abruptly, I thank you for it!

Drs.Philippe Cremers, theologian Wittem, April 18, 2008. ©