Jan van Duijnhoven

Celebration of Light

13 April - 16 June 2019

Jan van Duijnhoven (Uden, 1944) celebrates light. Every day he observes sunlight in order to paint its optical refraction into the spectrum colors red, yellow and blue, plus white. When we look into the bright sun, or shine a bright light into our eyes, the surroundings vanish and we see an image of boundless space filled with bands of color and energy.

The paintings of Jan van Duijnhoven are built up layer by layer. He always works with pure pigments that are applied to the canvas in highly diluted, transparent layers. With this technique, known as glazing, the incident rays of light penetrate to the bottom layer; this gives rise to a varied play of reflection, absorption and spatiality in the different levels of pigment. That spatiality is also created by the artist by assembling various canvases on top of each other: they are literally refractions, like those of light itself. With their height of 180 centimeters, corresponding to a human scale, and a depth of fifteen centimeters or more, the paintings moreover have a strong physical presence as objects.

At first Van Duijnhoven’s work comes across as being abstract, but actually it is just as concrete and elusive as light being cast through a prism. There are no frames or outer edges: ‘(...) in this unique oeuvre the phenomena of space and light converge as one, from a philosophical as well as a painterly point of view,’ writes art historian Rick Vercauteren in the upcoming publication linked with the exhibition at De Pont.