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The New Classic Men, Love and Passion in Four Realist Artists

by Sandro Kortekaas in Theatre, Art & Expo , 15 januari 2016

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Length: 4 minutes

Till Feb. 20, Gallery MooiMan has the exhibition running with the title “The New Classic Men,” with art by four artists. The underlying themes are love and passion. In a four-part series of exhibitions, Gallery MooiMan shows their vision on the male in art. This time through “The New Classic Men,” with renowned artists from the Netherlands and abroad, to know: two painters: Wim Heldens and Rob de Lange from the Netherlands; one artist from the Russian Federation who dares to come out of anonymity for the first time: Sergei Svetlakov; and one sculptor: Marcel Julius Joosen, also Dutch.

In this spacious exhibition, all four artists get wide exposure, with the underlying theme “passion” as the common thread between the artists and their work.

Wim Heldens’ Realism

For the first time, Gallery MooiMan shows work by Wim Heldens (Sittard, 1954). In 2011, Heldens won first prize in the prestigious BP Award of the National Portrait Gallery in London. This led to extensive coverage in the media, not only in newspapers and magazines, but also on television in both the Netherlands and abroad. Since then, his paintings can be seen at art fairs, for instance PAN Amsterdam and Realism art fairs, and his work has been included in several museum collections, such as the MEAM (Museu Europeu d’Art Modern) in Barcelona.

Wim Heldens’ paintings are characterized by techniques that go back to the Renaissance and the use of light by the Dutch masters of the seventeenth century, but also to the psychologically dramatic art of Caravaggio. The style that was developed by Heldens - portraits with psychological realism - tells something of the reality of the present. A visual experience of an (imaginary) reality that is enhancing the impression of space and time by experimenting with color and their intensities. “Like life stopped in its tracks while it happens,” according to John Borstlap, author of the book “Wim Heldens, Paintings.”

Realism to the Millimeter by Rob de Lange

“I look at life through a framework - I want to hold on to what touches me.” Besides portraits, Rob de Lange (1958) also paints daily life objects. However, he also intriguingly knows how to capture the male in all his delicate shapes, from young to old, from naked to dressed, in a fantastic and colorful realism. His feel for color and the use of light betray a painter with an amazing ability to see, endless patience, and an exact technique that was developed through fine painting.

Realist Drawings by Sergei Svetlakov

The hyper realist drawings by the Russian artist Sergei Svetlakov (Saint Petersburg) show the highest possible craftsmanship imaginable and possible. In an interview with the American magazine “The Art of Man” he explained that in his drawings he tries to show that real male beauty doesn’t only comprise of a beautiful body or great looks of a model. Svetlakov is interested in the beauty of all ages, without showy posing. He tries to capture the natural beauty and the significance of the model’s inner self, and therefore never works from photographs, but only with real models.

Marcel Joosen’s Embedded Realism

In 2013, the book “Marcel Julius Joosen, Beelden / Sculptures” was published by Gallery MooiMan. The book is an overview of his body of work on the occasion of his seventieth birthday. During the solo exhibition that was organized to celebrate the release of the book, not only unique works from Marcel Joosen’s own collection were shown, but also the initiation of a new series of bronze statues. Life-size and framed parts of the male, with the hand playing a fundamental role. Now, two years later, ten new sculptures are on display at “The New Classic Men,” in which Joosen shows how detailed his compositions are, and how he surpasses and renews himself each time. Balanced, framed compositions in which the presence of a hand suddenly can be an addition that refers to love and passion, but also of pride and desire. Showing this many new sculptures at one single exhibition is a first for the artist.

Love and Passion

In the works of Wim Heldens, Rob de Lange, Sergei Svetlakov, and Marcel Joosen, love and passion return as underlying theme. This creates a special, almost personal story line as underlying layer of the exhibition, expressing something personal about the artists. Wim Heldens’ partner is also his muse, for Rob de Lange they are his father and his son, and for Marcel Joosen it is his adopted son, all sources of inspiration that regularly come back in their works. This passion, or drive, is without doubt an integral part of the works by all these artists.

At the exhibition, the books “Beelden / Sculptures” by Marcel Joosen and “Wim Heldens, Paintings” are available.

The exhibition, which runs until February 20, 2016, also shows works from the calendar “Your Daily Male 2016” by over thirty-six artists in the gallery’s storage space.

Gallery MooiMan,
Noorderstationsstraat 40,
9717 KP Groningen
Open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 14:00-18:00, or by appointment.



published Feb 2017        Length: 5 minutes

published Nov 2017        Length: 5 minutes


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