LUST FOR LIFE
Oek de Jong selects drawings bij Erik Andriesse
Why do I admire the work of Erik Andriesse? When I first saw it in the 1980s, his craftsmanship and provocative virtuosity enraptured me. Neither the fleshlessness of conceptual art nor the deadly earnest of fundamental painting, not the naive belief in spontaneity of so many Neue Wilde, neither art about art nor a miniscule contribution to theoretical discourse, but a young artist who ‘just’ happened to draw and paint beautifully. Which, at that time, the art world found rather disquieting. For me, however, it was liberating. Here and there I saw Erik Andriesse’s now classic amaryllises and sunflowers; always so distinctive. Occasionally, I also saw a certain indolence in his work, sometimes typical of great talents, or too much of the daredevil, he sometimes went a little over the top; but my affinity with his work remained unabated.
I also became enchanted by the striking vitality in his oeuvre. It is a passion to create – more evident in his drawings than his paintings – and perhaps nothing other than a passion to be, repeatedly to reach an elevated state of being. A fondness for black humour lends Andriesse’s work other dimensions. You can suffer the tragedy of the human condition or joke about it – and it is the latter, with a liberal sprinkling of youthful recklessness, that Erik Andriesse did. I also love the sensuality in his work. A sensuality that not only resonates in the flowers he often portrayed with such beauty and daring, but is equally evident in the skulls and animal skeletons.Ultimately, it is the vehement and virtuoso movements of his drawing hand that yield an elegant gratification. At their best, they transport you to the sublime, rivalling the passionate eloquence of a fierce John Coltrane solo, a fragment of the Goldberg variations articulated by Glenn Gould or the slow motion of a dazzling rally between two masters of the tennis racket. Oek de Jong (1952) is novelist and essayist. He is best known for his novels Opwaaiende zomerjurken (Billowing Summerskirts), Cirkel in het gras (Circle in the Grass) and Hokwerda’s kind (Hokwerda’s Child). He wrote about the fine arts in his collection of essays Een man die in de toekomst springt (A Man Leaping Into the Future). De Jong’s most recent publication is De wonderen van de heilbot (The Miracles of the Halibut) (journal, 2006). www.oekdejong.nl