Holzschnitt – Woodcut

Jan Brokof, Gustav Kluge, Dieter Mammel, B.C. Epker, Jos de l’Orme

21 June – 20 July 2008

In the past the woodcut, developed in the 14th century, was of great importance to artists as a means to distribute their work. With Dürer the woodcut started to flourish, much later the expressionists took up the technique because of the powerful light-dark effect and the strength and directness of the lines. In our world of mass media and digital technique the woodcut seems to have been forgotten and to have disappeared. Nevertheless the technique is still applied by contemporary artists. For the exhibition HOLZSCHNITT – WOODCUT three German and two Dutch artists were invited, who often or even exclusively make woodcuts.

Jan Brokof (1977) born in former Eastern Germany uses the woodcut to represent the Plattenbau apartment buildings of his youth. He once made a completely three-dimensional reconstruction in woodcut of his boy’s room, including the sansevierias in the window sill and posters of Billy Idol, Baywatch and Madonna on the walls. Among other works, he now exhibits a woodcut lying on the floor, with a block of flats represented from above.

Gustav Kluge (1947) has always made a lot of woodcuts besides his paintings. Among other things, his works inspired by the German children’s song about the ‘Bucklicht Männlein’ are shown. This hunchbacked little man turns up in the darkness of cellars or bedrooms in order to frighten children and adults. In a metaphorical sense he embodies the hidden, dark side of our personality. (Courtesy Produzentengalerie, Hamburg)


In his woodcuts Dieter Mammel (1965) goes back to photographs of his childhood, where he as a small boy is walking by his mother’s hand or holding a big bag of sweets. By turning the photographs into woodcuts these familiar images acquire an odd slowing-down effect, as if the still of the photograph has been set even further back in time.

In the woodcuts of B.C. Epker (1968) an intriguing fusion is to be seen of art-historical tradition with images from the mass media and porn magazines. For instance, a naked woman is provocatively reclining against a tree in a very classical landscape with a Frisian church in the background. These mutually foreign images are unified by the technique of the woodcut.

 Jos de l’Orme (1962) works exclusively in woodcuts; often he does not show the print but the wooden plate. The lines have the natural colour of the wood, so that a lively and warm impression is created. Characteristic are his undulating lines, here to be noticed in the portrait of an old woman, but also in the whirling lines around a fighter jet cleaving the air.