Matthias van Arkel´s characteristic tongues of colour weave his paintings together. They make the images twist and turn, folding them into thick or thin, long or short, hardened lengths that lay closely together. The bands overlap, running under, over, and alongside each other. Matthias van Arkel´s paintings spread out like a heap of colour.
Everything in the image is happening at the same time, and there are many points on which to fix my gaze. But my eyes keep slipping, and have trouble gaining foothold. Similar shades of colour recur in different places, and increase the speed in the picture, continuously creating new spaces with a different light and charge. I try to get the painting to slow down. But it is futile, the painting is too quick. Each tongue of modelled silicon rubber in Gobelin (F.A.S.) establishes this sense of constant movement. The painting´s endless distribution of events suggests motion, where in fact only stillness exists. This exalted immobility is a paradoxical feature of Matthias van Arkel´s highly energetic paintings, which activate the space of the gallery.
Even though the coloured bands in Sarkofag and Loop have numerous possible directions, they form encompassing images with neither a starting point, nor an end. The paintings exist as an immediate and continuous appearance of matter, enclosing their own visual structures and urging us to view them as objects. Loop contains perhaps the most radical gesture, in that it has freed itself of any underlying support whatsoever. It seems to be hovering as a kind of three-dimensional drawing in space. The painting is visible from all angles, and shows itself from the inside out. Loop is a stunning prolongation of Matthias van Arkel’s experimental investigation of what a painting can be.
Text: Magnus Bons
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger