Solo show Rene Rietmeyer
EXISTENCE The Japan Series
October 26th – December 1 2023
René Rietmeyer (Heusden 1957) makes boxes (“Boxes”). Size, material, color and texture, as well as the place where he makes them and the influences of the moment, determine what meaning the work communicates. But it is not Rietmeyer’s intention that he communicates his personal ideas and be understood and appreciated for it. It is a meaning he transfers, as it were, to the viewers who create and experience their own sculpture or installation with his boxes, adding a new, original and unique layer of meaning to the work that began with the artist.
Materiality is important to Rietmeyer. Not so much what material was used per se, but rather how and with what texture or implicit material-specific qualities the work presents itself to viewers. Materiality is not only the set of visual characteristics of the material used, but at the same time the different forms of meaning that are assigned when the material is considered. Rietmeyer considers his most important work to be the conceptualization of the idea he wants to realize upon completion of the series of boxes. Once the work is finished, the interpretation of meaning and the experience of the emotional impact of the sculpture is a matter for the viewers. The artist leaves the arena and becomes one of the beholders. He no longer has control over what and how viewers experience his work and provide it with meaning, their meaning. Rietmeyer accepts that and anticipates it. For him, there is no such thing as objective perception and meaning, nor universal truth. Not even in science.
Although the formal language he uses, the rectangular or square box, avoids the purely anecdotal of organic forms, the viewer will experience the installation of boxes, the rhythm of the mutual relationships, the play of light, color and shadow, as a personal experience and provide it with a personal interpretation.
This effect is heightened by Rietmeyer’s treatment of the skin of the boxes. The wooden boxes are all painted separately, not sprayed, but with their own handwriting and texture. Also in the glass boxes, made from Murano glass during a long stay in Venice, all have individual color differences and individuality in materiality. The same is true of the ceramic “life” boxes.
Even the titles of the boxes, which refer to the place where the work was conceived and made or to artists, who fascinated Rietmeyer at the time (Brice Marden, Bridget Riley), are ultimately no more than indications of meaning for viewers. Just as the color patterns and paint texture serve as inspirations for viewers to assign their own meaning to the work. They are clues in a landscape full of memories, fragments of facts, shadows of dreams, associations with desires, sorrows, happiness and wishes for the future of the viewer. In seeing a box, the viewer creates his or her own structure in time and existence.
Works by René Rietmeyer are included in private and museum collections, including the ECC Collection