Trudi van der Elsen
curated by Valeria Ceregini
with support from Culture Ireland
The visual and performative artist Trudi van der Elsen introduces in this new group of works a fragmentary perception of reality – hence the title Fragmented Perception – specifically, two worldviews: one local and one global. Through the abstract painting, van der Elsen explores both the visual and digital world matching her real and virtual experiences in her paintings through the use of multiple layers of colours and marks laid on progressively on the canvas to capture on the surface of her paintings the myriad movements of the virtual world. Thus, the surface becomes the place of various vanishing points generated by the authentic artist’s experience of the world.
Time plays a fundamental role in van der Elsen’s pictorial practice, it is released as a form of energy in every phase of her work, from conception to realisation. Body gestures and soul movements are aimed to let her creativity flow freely on canvas placing herself in an intuitive time. Like jazz music, she is trusting in the flow of improvisation where all her experiences come through in painting.
Everything is in constant flux, a flow of gestures and colours that indicate both the artist’s physical movements and the passages of time. Van der Elsen affirms, indeed, that through painting she places herself into the time flow, a performative time, of action, of “being in time”, hic et nunc.
During that creative and intuitive process, the marks on canvases follow the artists’ mind and emotions, until they find their place on the canvas creating the right composition of the final abstract image. Therefore, it becomes a captured instant of that time that reflects exactly the harmonic intensity, the artistic and poetic climax.
The research process that led Trudi van der Elsen to the realisation of these pieces is an intuitive improvisation proceeding by organic brushstrokes and pen marks intertwining and contrasting themselves among several pictorial stages and levels. Furthermore, van der Elsen’s oeuvre involves her whole body, especially in the large canvases the embodiment of the painter is evident. At the same time, this improvisation of movements is inviting the bystander to get lost in these new illusory visual mind spaces escaping from reality.
In Trudi van der Elsen’s painting memory, observation, intuition, knowledge, technical ability, technology and history come together in a unique and unprecedented image where the phases of realisation – often linked to personal visual experiences such as the enchanting estuary of the River Shannon in Ireland – are blended to fade and then giving life to a new space of imagination. These “landscapes” become the landscapes of mind that however take on concreteness and truthfulness in their abstraction.