HIDDE VAN SEGGELEN is pleased to present the exhibition Froschhaut by Jos van Merendonk. 

Jos van Merendonk’s oeuvre has been developed during a 40 year period and consists mainly of painting and works on paper. Froschhaut is van Merendonk’s first exhibition with the gallery in Hamburg and encompasses works from earlier periods to the present.

Almost all of Jos van Merendonk’s paintings have been derived from three combined motives: a zigzag, an oval shape, and a superimposed Z. 
These three forms, first conceived on a piece of paper in 1983, appear in different guises. In essence they are the basis for everything the artist makes.  Van Merendonk works in a single pronounced color: chrome oxide green, in Germany referred to as Cologne bridge green, a pigment that is considered most stable and neutral. The paintings are executed in a square format that vary in size: 40 × 40 cm, 60 × 60 cm, 100 x 100 cm or 200 × 200 cm.

With a concept of three motives and a single colour in mind a spectator discovers order in an apparent chaos. This is intentional. The artist has created a broad playing field in which the
 motifs have taken refuge in the color green. Paint is sometimes applied thin, but just as often it has been put on thick.  

Mark Kremer writes about the use of the specific colour in The Raving Silence: “Green calls the shots in Jos van Merendonk’s paintings.  A powerful, yet introvert green throws the viewer back onto himself; the colour signifies green, but simultaneously questions the sensorial experience of green.  After all, memories of the natural green world inhabit us; in our mind there shines as it were an eternally green slide.”

It has been argued that Van Merendonk’s work is hard to classify in terms of chronology. “What did he make when?”  The different techniques: drawing pencil lines, smearing paint by hand, or with a spatula, using a spray-can or knife or by throwing the paint on the canvas, the scratching in wet paint with a screwdriver: actions the artist could have done 20 years ago but also today.  This state of non-classification is fascinating when one realises that for Van Merendonk painting is very much about the history of painting.  

One could situate Van Merendonk’s practice in the thinking about art in the 80s where reactions to conceptual art where evident, but when criticism on the prevailing painting of the 1950 and 60s was also very strong. In his practice Van Merendonk mirrors modernism whilst at the same time he offers the spectator other motivations and options, a manner in which his ‘artist’ language can be characterized from within and distinguished from others.  

Jean- Francois Lyotard describes a comparable position in the work of the artist Adami: “it is actually about presence and that it is not true that painting simply serves something that you have already seen or maybe not yet seen so to show…his way of composing itself alludes to something that is just outside of any possible representation. …Every important painting always works at the limit of representability and that in great painting as in great literature it is about paying the debt for a presence that it misses.” Translated from German in an interview by Christine Pries, 1988, Kunstforum April-May 1989, p 357.

‘Systematic analysis is the scientific tool par excellence, and normally the very opposite to the rather holistic approach common in the arts’, Franz Kaiser writes, ‘you take something apart in order to better understand it. That’s what conceptual artists essentially did, up to a reduction point beyond which further analysis would cease to make sense. I would have thought that the most sensible thing for an artist of the following generation – that is, Van Merendonk’s (and my own) – to do would have been to intuitively reconstruct from this acquired knowledge a more complex artistic language, a more knowledgeable one this time.’

Van Merendonk’s resilient body of paintings, which today in 2022 spans a period of four decades, is essentially an assembly of differences.  The artist’s experience of the history of modern art – and the quest for liberation embodies the works of contemporary painters – resonates with his continuous distillation of the ways of painture and écriture.  

Froschhaut brings together 13 of his paintings made in different periods.  HvS, Hamburg, January 2022


32 Paintings Photographed in the Studio, 2013, text The Return to Paradise by way of Chromium Oxide Green by Stefan Majakowski; Assemblage, 2018, text The Raving Silence by Mark Kremer, published by Hidde van Seggelen; Motief, Motive, Motiv, 2019.  The essay by Franz W. Kaiser Jos van Merendonk Contextualised, is published by Parts Project on the occasion of The community of the painted, The Hague, 2020 -2021.

Solo exhibitions (a selection)
2022, Froschhaut, Hidde van Seggelen, Hamburg, 2020-2021 Jos van Merendonk | the community of the painted, Parts Project, The Hague; 2018 1 Object & 6 Paintings, PS Project Space, Amsterdam; 2016 to the end of the world or to the edge of the paper, Bob Law & Jos van Merendonk, parts project, den haag, nl; 2016 the promise of tradition, Boetzelaer|Nispen, amsterdam, nl; 2014 pure matter, Kienzle Art Foundation, berlin; 2014 Stupf und Feurig (mit/with marien schouten), galerie Christian Roellin, st Gallen; 2010 Echtzeit, galerie christian roellin, st. gallen; 2008 uploading the field, galerie Christian Roellin, zürich | feedbacklussen, Vous Etes ici, Amsterdam; 2007 immer distanz, kulturwerkt66, freiburg | ohne mühe, galerie christian roellin, st. Gallen; 2006 hamerstukken, vous etes ici, amsterdam | galerie barbara oberem, bonn; 2004 a false picture, vous etes ici, Amsterdam; 2002 vous etes ici, amsterdam BFA gallery, liempde; 2001 galerie appel, frankfurt am main;1999 Reuten galerie, Amsterdam; 1998 Hales gallery, london Richard Salmon Gallery, london

Works in collections (a selection)
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Nl), Gemeente Museum Den Haag (NL), Stedelijk Museum Schiedam(NL), Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden(NL), Stedelijk Museum het prinsenhof, Delft (NL), Fortis Stichting Kunst en Historisch Bezit, Utrecht (NL), Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Arnhem (NL), ABN-AMRO Art Collection, Amsterdam, (NL),  Kunstcollectie De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam, (NL), Collection Cees van den Burg, Den Haag, Sammlung Mondstudio, Bad Homburg (DE), Collectie Lagaay/Van klink, Oegstgeest (NL), Kienzle Art Foundation, Berlijn (DE)