Starting from art schools such as abstract expressionism, hard edge painting and post painterly abstraction, Toon Berghahn (Amsterdam 1970) explores the boundaries and possibilities of contemporary art and painting. Through an alienating redoubling of reality and a subtle play with perspective, he questions the relation between the depicted and the ‘real’ world, as well as the modernist ideals.
Apparently recognizable and familiar spaces at the same time look alienating and disturbing. Human presence is only suggested through its traces: paintings, canvases, a chair, an easel, paint splodges on a wall. The ethereal light that falls in reinforces a feeling of desolation and melancholy but at the same time offers consolation.
By deploying all conceivable painterly means, ranging from perspectival distortions and trompe l’oeil to surprising combinations of materials and techniques, Berghahn questions the relation between the depicted and the ‘real’ world. What he calls his ‘unusual approach of painting and the raw treatment of the skin of the painting’ coincides with ‘a raw look at reality, one of stripped buildings, hallucinating neon colours, modern ruins.’