Hans Klein Hofmeijer, This Way Painter, (English)

Hans Klein Hofmeijer – This Way Painter

‘being pre-occupied with the ever changing thoughts that occupy my mind takes up a lot of my time. Much more time than the moments in which I make contact with paper or other grounds on which I can form imagery.’

The world of Hans Klein Hofmeijer is predominantly an internal one. When it comes to the expression of this world however, it results in a unique visual language. Every morning Hans approaches the world afresh, when he steps into his studio. The blank canvas of his mind fills with thoughts and words that sooner or later in the day will result in unique imagery.

What strikes, looking at the works, is a regular return of certain themes: The Backside of the Artist, Winelike Creatures, Lightcatchers, Inkmen…

Lightcatchers or light tables are table shaped objects with a bright white surface that seems to attract even more light than they already contain. These objects become even more intruiging because of the use of humanoid or organic legs, which makes the objects into some kind of creature, catching the light from its environment, like the artist catches his inspiration from his environment, capturing the morning light in any shape or form.

In the Backside of the Artist, Wine Like Creatures and Inkmen we see the use of an abstracted human. Inkmen are simply that: Ink Men. They are blobs and shapes of blue ink that has run to some extent on either paper or canvas, forming a human shape. These shapes are predominantly cruciform, although sometimes we find a sitting ink man, that resembles the shape of another theme, The Backside of the Artist.

In the Backside of the Artist the artist is present yet absent. We look at what the artist is looking at, but this is largely blocked from our view by a vague shape representing the artist seen from behind. As Hans says: ‘The backside of the artist marks the territory within which the artist works. The viewer is not excluded by the backside of the artist, he is made aware of the inner world of the artist.’

The Winelike Creatures are similar shapes of a vaguely human form. They came into being when Hans walked into his studio one morning and found a glass of wine, half finished. He dipped his brush into the wine and started painting. The Winelike Creatures are a surreal interpretation of the human form. They can be body parts or whole beings, consisting of wine coloured flesh and hair. They remind one of a cocoon that provokes many associations: Meat? Humanity? Sexuality? It is up to the viewer to work out what exactly he is seeing.

Imagery plays an important role in the work of Hans Klein Hofmeijer, but the medium used is just as important. A lot of the work is on paper, often re-used sheets or different sheets pieced together. Apart from a traditional way of using pencil, Hans uses everything he finds in his world to complement the works. Therefore we see the use of ink, paint, wine, earth, wax, found objects like leaves and different bearers are used as well. From the aforementioned different types of paper to canvas and other fabrics. The frames of the works also play an important role and are an integral part of the works. They are carefully chosen from a selection of second hand frames that sit around Hans’s studio.

Apart from a very personal visual imagery, the use of words and text is as important in Hans’ work. The titles are often descriptive and an essential part in the interpretation of the work. Often we find Hans writing on the works, where text becomes and integral part of the imagery. Hans’s writings have a strong, individualistic and poetic quality. A large part of his creative process is writing. His many diaries are testimony to this. Writing helps Klein Hofmeijer structure his inner thought processes and his being as a visual artist.

Hans Klein Hofmeijer’s work makes people think. It takes then away from their world and leads them into his world. Thus taking us, as viewers, on a micro-holiday while looking at the works. As Hans said in one of his diaries: ‘let my works be patient objects amongst busy people’


Hans Klein Hofmeijer was born in Tilburg, The Netherlands in 1957. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Sint Joost in Breda, The Netherlands from 1974 to 1979 and graduated with honours. He lives and works in Oostelbeers, a small village in Brabant, in the southern part of the Netherlands.

Tekst door: Hanneke van der Werf

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