Robbie Cornelissen, Ed Pien
drawings, work on paper
11 October – 09 November 2008
Robbie Cornelissen (1954) has a reputation for making gigantic drawings, which, apart from their dimensions, are especially impressive because of their abundance of detail. In the libraries, cities or stations depicted by him man is absent; consequently, the architectural fantasy retains certain neutrality so that the observer can wander round the rooms undisturbed. Sometimes your eyes are immediately guided, for instance by the bend of a huge wall running from left to right through the image. The recent large work Paradise Lost (240 x 400 cm) shows what is at first sight a familiar panoramic representation of an urban landscape. When we take a closer look, the city turns out to have been composed of three levels, concealing strange and sometimes grim details. It is characteristic of the drawings that Robbie Cornelissen manages to integrate the familiar and the bizarre into something completely self-evident.
Taiwanese Canadian artist Ed Pien (1958) expresses deep human fears in his work. Grotesque creatures are cropping up in his drawings; demons, spirits and ghosts. Thus he continues an age-old tradition in Western and Asian art, the representation of hell. During a journey through China he discovered the cut-out drawing, especially used in clichéd images for tourists there. Pien took over this technique in order to create utterly delicate and complex representations of trees and woods, in which human figures are concealed. Recently he also covers the paper with reflecting material, causing a mysterious glitter in the image. Apart from these cut-out drawings a series of drawings in blue ink is also presented, going back to the Chinoiserie that was extremely popular in the eighteenth century. In Ed Pien’s drawings these elegant decorations with bamboo plants, birds and pagodas develop into rampant growths of voluptuous plants and exotic creatures spreading fancifully over the paper.