Henri van Noordenburg | Jake + Lola

Henri van Noordenburg, Composition XVII, 2019, hand carved pigment print on hahnemuhle, 40 cm x 100 cm.

Sometimes, someone comes along at just the right moment, and drops a line into a conversation that fizzes and pops in your memory for months or years to come. This happens to all of us at least once or if we’re lucky, or listening, many times in our lives. And this was my experience of meeting Henri van Noordenburg for the first time. He had no idea that in his warm and generous way, he had dropped a thought-bubble into a late night, cup of tea conversation that triggered all sorts of positive tweaks in my art practice.

When you sit down with thoughtful people, thoughts pour out, and whilst I’m completely mad for the digital, I miss the analogue of sitting around with fellow artists. It feels a little like a dying art, one we should not lose. Or maybe I’m feeling a touch of iso-fever? (Not the actual fever!) Perhaps I’m just missing sitting around with ANYONE! đŸ˜€

For me, Henri’s works are intensely moving. Using a sgraffito approach he removes layers of an image to reveal another, across hundreds of hours. The result is pure passion on paper, the telling of a dramatic story that is imbued with fragility. It is a story worth hearing.

During FOUND! Studio Dog, Henri’s work will be covered with a black cloth, and will be available for viewing at specified times, and on request. Read more below, or @henri_vn on Instagram, about his ongoing #climatecoverup campaign.

Henri, what is your art practice?
I draw with a knife (scalpel) into inkjet print on paper. It is a new technique I have been developing since 2009.

Who are your studio companions?
Jake, 13 and Lola, 11 they are both Gordon Setters, they were both rescue dogs and came into my life when they were 1.5 and 1 year old, they are such amazing company I absolutely love them.

What are you working on in your studio now?
I always have multiple works on the go including a multiple panel work which will take me a few years to complete. 

How has the current imposed isolation changed what you’re doing? Has something really surprised you during this transition to ‘artist in quarantine’?
The Isolation did not really change anything for me as I my art practice is in isolation. It did cement my concept as I have been researching and creating works that depict nightmarish scenes of natural disasters causes by humanity, Global Warming is the central focus.

Any special news about your art practice?
Since January 2020 I have covered my work with a black cloth when shown in galleries. It is a protest against government inaction on climate change. The protest is called #climatecoverup so far my work was covered in Wuppertal, Germany; Basel Switzerland; Rockhampton and on-line joined by artists from Australia and international. I also have a work in the Percival Portrait Prize at the Perc Tucker Gallery in Townsville, again covered up. The audience is allowed to lift the cloth and use a torch to look at the work, but I feel strongly about making the stand. There will be more galleries who will show my work covered up, as i am not planning to stop with the action any time soon. 

Henri and his studio assistants, Jake and Lola. Image by Mark Sherwood.
Henri van Noordenburg, Composition XLVII 2019, hand carved pigment print on hahnemuhle, 40cm x 100 cm. Private collection Israel.

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