Moving forward, even when it seems like we are standing still
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Marko Klomp's (1974 -) captivating soft-focus paintings stab deep into the heart of our collective conscious. Particularly at such a precarious time as coming out of the end of a long lockdown period. A traumatising period, isolating and filled with stories of loss. Loss of freedoms and loss of loved ones lead us to mourn what once was and what is passing. As we consider Marko Klomp's artworks, we are guided through these themes that have dominated our lives in recent times. In the artist's newest series, Anthologima (2021), we are led through strong themes of isolation, enduring, and reaching for something new.
In the sky.
We are floating in calm motion.
We are conducted to different variations of landscapes and horizons.
The emptiness in her eyes varies from escapism to the depth of an earthy downfall.
Paintings going beyond the visual
Marko Klomp's work goes beyond visual; the artist combines different art forms immersing the viewer deeper into the subject. In Anthologima, we see the artist combine visual artworks with poetry. In the previous series, the artist also combined forms of visual artwork, poetry and sound. Auditora (2019) was a series of paintings based on poems and rhythms created by Marko Klomp, and Cantima (2017/18) was a series of paintings the artist created while being inspired by songs. The name Cantima combines the Latin words for song cantus and image imago.
It’s not your fault
you have to make figures
of life to have history
made when you flap
- Marko Klomp
Poetry and critical questions in paintings
The artist's poetry has a strong melancholy feel; however, it also gives a sense of forging a new path and beginning a new stage. Thus, the exhibition title Perseverance. In 2019 the most critical question for global citizens was climate change. How would humans move forward and create a world that could continue to sustain human and non-human life? What would the future cost be for the damage humans have inflicted upon Earth's ecology? Marko Klomp's painting series, Left Behind (2019), shows lone animals in vast landscapes. The artist's placement of small, detailed figures allows the viewer to travel within the expansive landscapes created within the paintings. The large, open landscapes and the small, detailed element emphasise the feelings of isolation and give that contrast of stillness and movement within the scene. Marko Klomp's art allows us to self reflect as much like these animals, we, the viewer, have felt stuck during the pandemic, motionless and isolated, yet we continue to move as almost two years have passed. These lone animals persevere; they endure and survive, forging on alone like many have needed to during the pandemic and lockdowns.
Old and new, the distance is so close
I am struck by a profound sense of
my own littleness as I move forward
I leave things behind giving us love
I am silent when I take a moment to
resurface and look at the past and
the present appreciates that time
birthed everything giving me the
strength to lift things or at least
Trying to receive and putting them
In a situation where I want them to be.
- Marko Klomp
Paintings relating to our humanity or lack thereof
Art Historian Wouter Maas pointed out the double-sided coin of freedom and loneliness in Marko Klomp's artwork in a previous exhibition. The artworks from the new series Anthologima form a narrative, with each painting has its own poem, and the poems create one greater poem. These new artworks and poetry recall Maas's discussion on freedom and loneliness as Marko Klomp expresses losing yourself in a relationship and needing to forge a new path. There is a desire to separate oneself and move on. The connection and lack of connection has simply moved from the non-human animals and landscapes to the human connection in this new series. This shift mirrors the shift in human priorities. The pandemic and lockdowns placed human connection, human freedom, and loneliness at the forefront of our minds, and unfortunately, our environmental concerns were pushed aside.
The Anthologima paintings depict figures which seem contemplative yet connected to a specific space and time. In some paintings, a lone figure is the subject, and in the paintings with small crowds, we can pick out the lonesome figures. Through these new paintings and poetry, Marko Klomp beautifully captures themes of connection. The artist implicitly allows us, the viewers, to follow this expressed intent to regain oneself and a more promising future. Many humans can relate to a desire as we continue our current path out of the global pandemic. The final artwork and poem in the Anthologima series, is unusually titled Prologue. Perhaps the artist introduces the main story, which exists beyond isolation and loneliness. As the final artwork and poem, Marko Klomp's Prologue highlights how our perseverance will move us forward despite our feelings of standing still; the artwork gives us hope that the main story is yet to come.
Marko Klomp at his opening of his soloshow, Perseverance on 30 April 2022 in Gouda. Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
Paintings that soothe while tackling difficult themes
Marko Klomp has painted this new series with a subtle pastel colour range and created a soft blur or distortion to his subjects. This combination conveys a tenderness, an almost dreamlike haze. The soft lines and delicate colour palette provide the artist's work as a soothing way to contemplate our world and surroundings. The hallmark of great art; is the ongoing relevancy of an image in understanding our world. Adding to the sensory experience of Marko Klomp's artwork is the accompanying poetry, allowing for a rich and varied interpretation of every artwork. This multi-medium approach makes the work more inclusive and provides a fantastic opportunity for people to engage with the artist's themes.
Opening of Marko Klomp's solo show; Perseverance at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
A Romantic multi-sensory approach
Marko Klomp's choice to combine art forms such as visual, sound, poetry etc., puts a contemporary take on a long-practised approach to integrating art forms. Moreover, the artist's presentation, style and themes in both their visual artwork and poetic language are reminiscent of 19th Century Romanticism. An artistic movement where artists expressed themselves through visual arts, poetry, literature, music, etc. For example, artists such as William Blake, Caspar David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner. Romanticism was a powerful emotional response to the changes of the day, a loss of natural environments and the industrial revolution in the 1800s. We can almost see a contemporary comparison. These multi-medium artforms by Marko Klomp are an expression and response to the current conditions of our time.
Left Behind X (De Albatros), (2021). Marko Klomp. 100 x 120cm. Oil on Linen.
Marko's use of poetry and music to accompany his visual artwork incorporates more of our senses to experience his work. Including poetry in art has a long tradition in China. Poetry and calligraphy take the front seat. Often the painting serves as a backdrop or inspiration to the poetry. It is not uncommon for century-old paintings to be used to pen down poetry by their current owner. Putting one's family seal and own lines of poetry enhances the value of the painting. Here in the West, it would be seen as a defacement of the image. This act of ongoing engagement with poetry, calligraphy and painting connects the art and the people through the ages.
On a final note
This exhibition showcases some of Marko Klomp’s recent works. We have drawn attention to themes and subject matter within the artist's work to help viewers relate to the artworks, to the other art mediums such as poetry and lastly to allow viewers a way to connect to the artist. In their newest series Anthologima, Mark Klomp has touched on emotions that many of us have felt during the recent pandemic. Yet, the artist has not lingered on these negative feelings. Instead, the artworks offer a sense of perseverance and hope.
About the Artist: Marko Klomp
Marko Klomp (1974) is a painter and a poet, based in The Hague. His work interweaves these two components into a dreamlike poetic state. Apart from the work we have available at the gallery, he writes poems that can accompany the paintings he makes.
His style is a distinctive ‘soft focus’ that creates ambiguity, poetry and a dreamlike state in all his work. The oil paintings are hyper realistic work, seemingly distorted by a lens of an unfocused camera, but it is the hand of the artist.
Art Historian Laura Caseberry for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone
About the Curator: Laura Caseberry
Laura Caseberry is an English Art Historian, who specialises in the contemporary visual arts and ecology. She studied Art History at the National Taiwan University, receiving her Bachelor's degree in Art History from the University of Manchester, specialising in Chinese art and Ecology. She received her Masters in Art History from the University of Liverpool. She has eagerly applied ecological critical ideas to arts and visual culture.
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All paintings are for sale.