​P E T E R   H A R S K A M P


(door Frans Duister, kunsthistoricus)

The painterly formulation and grouping of thoughts and emo-tions in plastic compositions is always a form of confession in the hands of Peter Harskamp, ​​because in this way he makes his relationship to life visible.

He works very consistently. The so-called dividing wall between figuration and abstraction is actually abolished here. Because in his option the difference essentially does not exist, and if it were to be talked into, it is provable through his view of painting that such a wall is an artificial one.

Peter Harskamp is not a realist in the well-known sense of the word. He does not try to reduce the distance between art and nature. The first steps one can take in art, it has long been thought, is to imitate nature. That is actually a flaw in thinking about the essence of art. An artist like Harskamp works from the perspective of art. He wants to make visible that which asks for an answer. With Peter Harskamp, ​​the recognizable elements are so whole and fiercely present that you can see something new become visible in them. Anyone who hears him talk about his work is listening to good news. There is talk of a "clearing" of incidentalities and avoiding multiformity.

There is no showing what we think there is.

The space that Peter Harskamp creates for his monumental visual language is one that makes no reference to anything, so that the dangers of anecdotalism do not stand a chance. The simplicity of the compositions is in fact an amalgamation of a universal human sense of earthiness, beauty, balance, silence, freedom and endearment. What others don't dare to dream, he presents us in a self-made visual language for consideration. In response to a world that is within reach, filtered from the immediate environment, with observations that, as small histories of life, have great significance. That feeling can be found in each of his paintings. It always presents itself, in that specific and inimitable way of saying that he has mastered. He carefully directs each painting. A swarm of nuances in the color does not diminish the monumentality, but rather sets it apart. His paintings live very slowly and are happy to share themselves with us.

Where his work is shown, a place of human pleasures and disarming attachment to life naturally forms. It expresses an indeterminacy, an omnipresence, an appealing plasticity and a unity of spatiality and time. And should this genre ever become infected by heretics, Peter Harskamp has liberated it through his free play of possibilities ("the human mind individually works like a sieve. What is considered valuable remains stuck, the other falls through") the angle of prejudice and the open and exposed brought back into the open.

Where there is no beauty one can create it.