Wouter Paijmans

Stars and Stripes (Confection Painting)

14 Sep - 24 Nov 2019

Wouter Paijmans (Loon op Zand, 1991) is exhibiting eighteen new paintings for the first time: one original and seventeen copies. A striking characteristic of these works is that the artist has used not paint, but solely textiles. With this series the artist introduces the notion of confection painting. The ‘original’ – a black hoodie with an orange lining, sewn as an appliqué to a background of floral patterns and stripes – has been disassembled after its manufacture in order to serve as a blueprint for the creation of imitations in white.
After graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Paijmans completed a residency at De Ateliers last year. During this period he gave up painting in order to work with needle and thread. For the series being shown now, he spent ten hours a day and six days a week working in his own ‘sweatshop’ as his own customer, manager and only staff member. He asks himself: are you still in fact an artist when you reproduce your own work? And: what is actually the difference between the original and the imitation, between the unique and the mass-produced object?
It may be tempting to interpret the confection paintings of Paijmans as ironic commentary on the world of contemporary art. What’s more important, however, is the romantic compulsion to create work, which lies at the heart of his practice. In the past Paijmans has sewn two hundred eye patches and three hundred sweaters. ‘Perhaps absurdity and single-mindedness are rather good starting points from which to work,’ he says. Those who look at the eighteen works in the exhibition can see how the repetition of moves leads, time and again, to a new artwork. Paijmans compares the making of a work to playing the piano. All of the keys have been touched before, but pressing them again in a different order gives rise to a new melody, a new artwork.