All About Drawing

Sebastiaan Schlicher

By Arno Kramer. All About Drawing, exhibition catalog, 2011. Translated from dutch by George Hall.

(Click for Dutch version)

Viewing the drawings of Sebastiaan Schlicher means an exceptional encounter. It is the meeting with an artist who conjures up a world that we cannot divine within a few seconds, let alone comprehend. Seeing his work is labouring. It is a heavy encounter. Entering the world of Sebastiaan Schlicher means stepping into a snarl of images, colours and lines, and searching for a core is as difficult as solving a rebus. You are never bored with it. Beauty also lurks in the complexity and dynamics of the work. This beauty is not a fact but an experience, a perception. You cannot claim that Schlicher conjures up pre-constructed beauty for us. His works are raw, intense, and have been realised with an enormous drive. He does not worry about a hand or a face that doesn't look quite right. On the contrary, he plays with almost every element, and his images taunt the classical approach. Although figuration is always important and is referred to in the titles of the works, there is a high degree of abstraction on display. This is caused by his obsessive filling of the paper. Emptiness is no friend of Schlicher's. Peace and tranquility are nowhere to be found. The force of the image grows with the progress of the drawing. The line seems to be the leading element for a time, and carries the drawing. The work evolves on the basis of the line drawing, and, in general, the line is the recurring mainstay. Additions and improvements by means of stains, structures, grids and colours determine the tone and style of the work. 'Drawing is always very close to the pure moment of perception,' wrote the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Sebastiaan Schlicher reverses everything that refers to classical notions in any way. The compositions are confusing, technique is deployed to generate an image that is as intense as possible. The titles are important because they contain a means of putting things into perspective. Whatever the case, someone who can elevate his obsessions to an exceptionally original level is at work here. - AK

All About Drawing. 100 Dutch Artists (2011) gives insight into the development of drawing in the Netherlands from the 1960s until the present day. Diana Wind and Arno Kramer selected a hundred artists for whom drawing forms the most important discipline in their oeuvre.The choice was also determined by the high degree of originality and autonomous quality, which are broadly seen as being important to Dutch art after 1960, as well as continuity in the oeuvre, work on paper and diversity in the genres. Accordingly, a panorama of draughtsmen and women unfolds, of artists who apply autonomous work to paper on the basis of a unique signature.

All About Drawing. 100 Dutch Artists (2011). Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. ISBN 978 94 91196 27 0 / NUR 646

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