Persona October, 21st 2017 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 139 - Mishmash


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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 139 – Mishmash
It is busy on the Rotterdam market on the Binnenrotte. Just behind the Meent I see the letters Mishmash on a shop window, my destination.
Mishmash is the name of the Rotterdam artist duo Henk Bezemer and Frank van Oosten. Once inside, I look around and see a huge variety of different types of works. Assemblages including shells and machine parts, which I had previously seen in the Bob Smit Gallery, behind them large canvases of aluminum, copper and bronze. A chandelier, including shells, a painting of ‘The Venus of the Markthal’, behind me a large graphic colorful work about the city of Rotterdam.

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Theater canvases
Halfway, on a vide, are the offices of the gentlemen. A lot of work is created on the computers. Frank: “It’s here gallery, workshop, atelier and studio combined. We do everything together, all work is being done by four hands.” Henk and Frank have been working together for more than 25 years. They encountered each other at the stage, at that time they were actors.

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At a certain moment, they were already ten years actor, they were asked whether they wanted to make theater canvases and scenery. Once busy with that, it was noticed, there came requests from the side of retail and catering. Henk: “From the theater we were used to working with more people. Frank asked me if I wanted to participate in those projects, and I said yes. “

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Henk was originally a lawyer, master of law, but he did not do anything about it. Frank followed the teachers’ education Drawing / Crafts / Art History in Delft. On a photo on their website you will see them as young boys sitting next to each other. Apparently they have known each other for a long time, but the picture appears to be a compilation, however they know each other for a long time, 35 years.
Not one theme
In 1991, they founded Mishmash. The company is doing well, they have a big clientele. “In the last 12/13 years, we are more and more asked whether we want to design spaces. For 50 percent we make art, for the other 50 percent we make interior designs. Those two things are seamlessly united. We have a wide clientele, including many individuals. In Concertbuilding De Doelen hang two big screens of us and in the World Museum (Wereldmuseum) ceiling paintings. “

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Mishmash does not really have one theme. Frank: “We let us lead through what we encounter. We are open for everything, that explains why we do so many different things. Our work varies from commercial to very free. Freedom is, of course, very important to us. That makes it difficult for some people. What are they doing exactly? They can not categorize us. “
Henk: “At present, the assemblies are a focus point. That has been a main activity in the last three years. You could, in the absence of a theme, indicate three main lines in our work. The first is the line of the assemblies, the second is that of the abstract work, canvases in which we process metal oxide, aluminum, copper and bronze and the third is a series of graphic colorful paintings, Urban Contemplation we call it. “

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Shells are a favorite element, you’ll see it almost everywhere in their work, also very big and special shells like the Nautilus shell. Frank: “It’s a lifelong love. We have collected a lot of them, in Mexico, Indonesia and Egypt, or we have eaten them ourselves, for example, the oysters. We also go to the wholesale and we also look at the market nearby. Twice a week there is a flea market, and there are sometimes objects that are interesting for our assemblies. “

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The assemblies consist of a number of different materials: old parts and natural findings such as shells, which are reassembled in a surprising way. Frank: “In the 17th century you had all this kind of tableware. They have no function except of ‘conversation-piece’, they stand there to be enjoyed and start the conversation. “
Under the floor of the vide hangs The Venus of the Markhal. A Zeeland Girl rises like a Venus from a shell, as a dress she carries the Markthal. “The shell refers to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It is the Virgin of Holland, more precise, the Virgin of Zeeland, the Zeeland girl. Many market people come from Zeeland. We have seen the Markthal, which now stands for two years, be built up every day. The people were angry that it came. We have also incorporated their anger in the work. “

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City silhouette
In the abstract work, the oxide paintings, their curiosity to the metals weathering process was the guide. “What happens if metal rusts? What if you craquel the surface? What color do oxides get? In Concertgebouw De Doelen, they made, on request, two large oxide works of 2 x 4.5 meters, inspired by the work of Rotterdam composer Willem Pijper.
Asked for a key work in their oeuvre, they mention this work. “Until we made these canvases we experimented a lot. This commission dropped the coin. That was in 2010, we found the way for abstract work. “
The Urban Contemplation series, the graphical-like city work, came out of the air. “December 2009 it suddenly came across. The inspiration was the pattern of big cities with a rectangular street plan, a kind of grid. If you connect certain points in the grid, there arises a city silhouette. It’s like watching the clouds. You see a certain animal, and that goes away. At that moment we were involved with what happened in the city: there was a crisis, a lot of crime, drug labs were rolled up nearby. We wanted to look for the underlying layers – much did not seem to be what it looked like. “

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Inspirit space
Even though there seems to be no big line in their work, there is an underlying view of the world that goes through all their different activities, from acting, through the theater to the current artifacts and interior designs. Frank: “Everything is about being open and see what you can do.” Henk: “We said a lot of ‘yes’ to things. That arose from interest. Looking back, you can say everything has fallen into place. “
They could not imagine a better profession than that of an artist. Mishmash is noticed and many assignments come in. From the setting up of municipal buildings to arts assignments for cultural institutions. One thing leads to another. “We are also allowed a lot.”

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Finally, do the Mishmash gentlemen have a fitting philosophical conclusion? That turns out to be short. “Art gives spaces a soul.”

Images: 1) Auf Liebe Eingestellt, Assembly, 2) Captura Extravagante, Assembly, 3) Pleaser, Assembly, 4) Urban Contemplation, 5) Venus of the Markthal, 6) Monkey Business, 7) De Doelen, Wall Painting, 8) Oxygen 4,5, 9) Mishmash Wall Painting and Interior Design Brasserie Burgerzaken, 10) Mishmash Portrait

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