JELLE VAN DEN BERN
COZMOS
22 OCT – 8 NOV 2008

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
Surrender Elch 2008
oil on board
50 × 40 cm 

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
Raku 1  2008
oil on canvas
240 × 160 cm 

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
cOZMOS 2008
oil on canvas
290 × 200 cm 

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
Transport  1 1999
oil on canvas
 80 × 100 cm 

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
Transport 2 2008
oil on canvas
270 × 190 cm  

JELLE VAN DEN BERG
Postie 2000
oil on  canvas
55 × 40 cm    


COSMOS or KOZMOS or cOZMOS. The concise english dictionary takes the
first two to be the universe, or, the system of order and harmony in
creation.
In Jelle van den Berg's exhibition the title of the exhibition is
spelled slightly differently to emphasize the OZ, the fact that the
painter is talking to the universe from the Australian continent. In
previous painting series van den Berg has addressed aspects of
Regionalism and the Pacific region in particular to draw attention to
the specificity of place for contemplation of the idea of an artist's
place in the world or more specifically how does the painter relate to
the close environment.

In his painting cOZMOS he sums it up as follows: a grid of sketches
made up from items in the studio that form the basis of the work. One
looks at an object in order to know it and yet for the viewer these
pieces are as baffling as they are for the artist. Incomprehensible
like the universe but nevertheless in perfect harmony in this light, in
this setting or in this ordering system. But how should one read this
order. Is it a collection of valuable collectables or are they
necessities. The answer is obvious but that does not mean that the
question has been answered. It takes a little research into the history
of painting to find out more. In van den Berg's system there is always
room for paradox, he wants the viewer to keep guessing until the
sequence has been established. These frames were not painted from top
left to bottom right. In fact the first one was the stepladder, a step
up perhaps. An upgrade? Who knows what the strategy is but one gets a
sense that there is a mapping out, an investigation or a timely
reminder given.

The other large work TRANSPORT is a narrative with a chronology. From
top to bottom it is the life of movement, of getting from A to B. It is
also the life of desire, what one could make one's own. Cars are pure
desire and for van den Berg the collective memory is around the people
who are like Joni Mitchell's prisoners of the white lines of the
freeway. A painting however can never replace a memory or a story. A
painting simply is and the more silence it produces the better. We have
all been in a spin and hopefully we have come out of it. At this moment
in time transport seems to be the question mark of civilization, where
are we going and what seems to be the hurry.

The smaller works are older but they seem to be in tune with the larger
ones. Raku  2004 is a shelf of dusty items seen through a haze created
from the Raku firing process. The reference to the tea ceremony or to
the making of the bowl are the same thing,  the ritual of the object.

Rudi Vos
October 2008