Press Release

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I had the privilege to work with these 3 young artists when they studied at de Ateliers in Amsterdam. I think they’re serious, intense and funny even and they should be seen as well as heard as soon as possible. – Marlene Dumas Sara Van Der Heide 1977, Pusan, South Korea Lives and works in Amsterdam Sara van der Heide’s paintings display a strong psychological intensity. Sometimes it is as though the protagonists have ended up in their own delusions, at other times they are like aliens in their own familiar environment. András Toma (2002), for example, is a portrait of a Hungarian prisoner-of-war who was a patient in a Russian institution for decades after the war; no one knew who he was or was able to understand him. In the glowing colours of the paintings, figure and ground constantly compete for attention. In her ink drawings, mysterious images of distant, calm places loom up in the many shadows. Natasja Kensmil 1973, Amsterdam Lives and works in Amsterdam Alarming subjects loom up from the thick layers of paint in Natasja Kensmil’s paintings. It is as though the figures are situated behind the surface of the painting. They are nightmares, as dark and menacing as the ‘black paintings’ of Goya, but at the same time these horrible orgies of destruction are an exorcism or a real fear of extreme right-wing violence and increasing nationalism, In a reversal of all values, we see Desi Bouterse in drag in Matisse’s boudoir (Soldier, 1999), the imaginary wife of Jörg Haider with curly hair on her breasts, and a horseman with a child who could be the legendary Elf King. Shah Jahan 1976, Sylhet, Bangladesh Lives and works in Birmingham Although it looks as though Shah Jahan has embraced popular culture, his paintings of pizza couriers and family gatherings have a sinister intensity that is diametrically opposed to the consumer bliss of Pop Art. The photos on which they are based seem to have been broken open to expose hidden meanings. Jahan’s snapshots of an Anglo-Asian community are marked by infelicities and translation error that have a magical quality. They are often assembled to form sequences that are a painterly reply to the film-loop. Jahan’s five-part self-portrait as Michael Jackson as pizza courier pokes fun at the global production of pictures and images.