Daan Botlek – Inhabited Hyperspace
The solo show ‘Inhabited Hyperspace’ by Dutch artist Daan Botlek is hosted by Toot Yung Gallery in Soi Nana, Chinatown (Bangkok) from the 14th to the 22nd of March, 2015, in association with Childline/ Hub Sai Dek, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping enrich the lives of homeless children in Bangkok.
The recent works of the artist, produced during his three-month residency there, vary from large-scale paintings on canvas, posters, silkscreen prints to laser cut art objects. The event also includes daily workshops for the children at Hub Sai Dek focused on graffiti, street art and hip hop culture. The exhibition will close with an afternoon street party on Sunday March 22nd featuring a live jam, live street art by international Bangkok based artists, street food and more, as well as the grand display of the final fruits from the workshops of the children of Hub Sai Dek and participating artists to be put up for sale as fundraising.
Daan Botlek shares with us the story about his visit to Bangkok: “Since I had to move out of my home last April I’ve been travelling from one project to the other. And so, on the 1st of December, I arrived in Bangkok. I was invited by the Toot Yung Gallery to do a residency of one month and present the works in an exhibition somewhere halfway January. Upon arrival it became clear that the owners of the building were suddenly thinking about selling the building, and a week later it was a done deal. So, out of the blue, the gallery and me were homeless.” This is when Daan and the gallery decided to go from a regular exhibition to a kind of festival with live music, workshops and more, and found the perfect event space (Cho Why) in Bangkok’s old Chinatown.
With the show scheduled on March 14th, the artist had to extend his stay: “Due to the unforeseen extend of my stay I also had to do some visa runs which turned into short holidays to Cambodia and Loas. I have to admit that the prolonged duration of the residency, with its breaks for travel and moving stuff, caused for changes in focus and concentration. So the last few weeks before the opening there was still a lot of work to do to realize the artworks, but with the help of a lot of great people it all turned out great. I’m very proud of the exhibition and how it came to be, but this stay was also perfect to think things over. Maybe that’s even more rewarding. I’ve got so many new concepts and plans for future projects, cannot wait to start. But first I’ll go walk around Chinatown to do some wall paintings, something I haven’t done since I left India last November.”
Using simplicity as a tool to approach complex subjects and covey meaning, and at the same time putting his characters in all sorts of complicated, confusing and absurd situations, yet with a humorous twist, the artist provides unique fragments of human thought and behavior, especially in the context of entrapment – in space, time, society and even in the limits of one’s own body. He uses perspective and geometry to create M.C. Escher resembling architectures and a labyrinth-like world of no escape, going from figurative to abstract, from tiny to gigantic, while building a powerful visual experience. His characters have no identity, as if the same figure repeats itself to infinity, they are stripped to their flesh and bones rather becoming obstacles for the others than supporting each other.
Daan Botlek – ‘Inhabited Hyperspace’
On Behance, the artist explains that his residency was also an opportunity to experience painting on canvas: “So far I’ve never done this because of two main reasons.
1. My main subject is this basic human character, white with black outline. This is to have a strong contrast between the image and the environment. To have a ‘sterile’ image in ‘murky’ surroundings. But the canvas is clean as well, the contrast and tension are gone immediately.
2. Normally I try to make use of the surrounding area, it all becomes part of the painting. On a canvas there are no surroundings, the canvas is like a prison.
That idea of a prison became the starting point of this canvas painting. To create a box within the canvas. Finally a good reason to investigate paint and color.”
‘I chase the devil’
‘I put a spell on you’
‘I wanna be your dog’
“The Hypercube Habitat series started as sketches for future canvasses, where the canvas is conceived as a box/confined space/prison. In every drawing a rectangular shape is added up, leading up to the 6 cubes of the hypercube.”
‘See the Whirl’ / part of the series ‘Hypercube Habitat’
‘Prometheus’ / part of the series ‘Hypercube Habitat’
‘Batty vs. Kepler’ / part of the series ‘Hypercube Habitat’
‘Meru passing by’ / part of the series ‘Hypercube Habitat’
‘Scenes of everyday life’
All images © Daan Botlek