Persona August, 15th 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 226 - Agnes van Genderen



World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 226 – Agnes van Genderen

Agnes van Genderen’s studio is on the top floor of her house on the site of the former Ajax stadium. Park de Meer, as the neighborhood is now called, is a green ‘environmental neighborhood’, with beautiful houses and high-rise buildings with waterways and ditches in between.

agnes van genderen – MB 2-, symmys wow

On my way to this studio I see many references to former football players in this neighborhood, including a large mural of Johan Cruijff and bridges named after Piet Keizer and Willem Suurbier. The stadiums where Ajax achieved success have also been incorporated into street names such as DelleAlpihof, Praterlaan and Anfieldroad.

agnes van genderen – MB 3-, symmys netten

Agnes points out in her studio: “There was De Meer’s centre spot. And those three high-rise apartments were provided by the Scottish artist David Mach with striking red-and-white blocks from the old stadium.” It is clear, we are on (former) ‘holy ground’ where previously songs like ‘There they heard angels sing’ and ‘De Zilvervloot’ were sung.

agnes van genderen – MB 4-, vectorgolf


Agnes’ studio looks light and tidy. White tables and cupboards, a large screen with printer, lots of pencils and pens. A series of abstract, geometric works by Agnes hang on the walls. She is even dressed for it, with black and white striped pants and a sweater with a colorful block pattern.

When she talks about her work, she begins to say that she starts from regularities and systems, such as arithmetic series and grids. “The Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Ratio, the magic square, these are things that have always appealed to me. For me, it is not so much about the formulas themselves, but about the images.” The prints and drawings she makes vary considerably in color, technique, material and size. Agnes: “Yet they are all related to each other like the leaves of a tree. Basically they all stem from the love I already developed during my studies for constructions, patterns and mathematical regularities. I even once subscribed to the math magazine Pythagoras, which also brought me ideas and mathematical approaches. ”


Ratio and imagination

Agnes often starts new projects with a system of grids, arithmetic series or mathematical figures. “I follow self-imposed structures and rules in my work, but I can also deviate from that by allowing coincidence to play a role. I am concerned with the balance of ratio and imagination. The work is often an investigation into the possibilities of a certain series or figure. The possibilities seem endless, and it is a process of selection, of choosing again and again, that leads to the final result. ”

Agnes does not work after nature, but in her own work she often recognizes images of nature, enlarged microbes, bacteria, jellyfish and algae. “I recognize things in nature that I have come up with myself. Nature also has fixed patterns. The ratio of the golden ratio is also in the sunflower and the pine cone. “

agnes van genderen – MB 6-, surething monday

Nowadays Agnes van Genderen focuses on digitally processing images with the help of her scanner and printers. Before she switched to that, Agnes worked in various other graphic techniques. She shows some works from that period, in which we see a playful line play. For this she used the dry needle technique in which she made different prints with one zinc plate by folding and tearing her paper. She still finds these dry needles “beautiful to see every time, that velvety black of the lines.”



Her most recent series of computer prints is called ‘symmys’. “That word was coined by the writer and scientist Hugo Brandt Corstius. He was particularly interested in the formal side of language, such as symmetry. He called words that can be read from left to right and from right to left Symmys. In the same way I became interested in the symmetry in images. The most symmetrical figure is a circle. I started looking at how many images I could make, based on one circle. “

Agnes van Genderen never lacks inspiration. “From one work comes the other. It is exciting every time, what comes out now? Sometimes it is surprising, sometimes it also fails. “

At the end of last year, Agnes took part in an exhibition of the Association for Original Graphics (VOG) in Leeuwarden, then the European Capital of Culture. Agnes made the major work ‘Boartsje’, which is Frisian for ‘playing’. She had worked out the same circles six times differently, which led to a surprising wall.

agnes van genderen – MB 8-, verscholen

Concert Hall (Concertgebouw)

Like almost everyone, Agnes van Genderen has experienced different periods over time. Good times, in which she sold enough work and received commissions. In Den Helder, for example, she designed a Retaining Wall near the station, and in Amsterdam the pavement pattern of Wilhelmina Blombergplein near the Tropenmuseum. But she has also experienced other times. “Then I had to take a job. For example, I have worked in elderly care, I have been a web developer at an internet company, and the longest time I have been selling tickets at the Concertgebouw. I did that for years, it was a very nice place with nice people. And that way I often came to the fantastic concerts in the Concertgebouw. ”

In addition, Agnes was active for a long time at the trade union of the visual artists, the BBK. “I have worked at the complaints office and, together with others, have set up the pressure group ‘Women in the Visual Arts’ to expose the inequality of female artists. It did have an effect if you now look at how museums organize their exhibitions, I see more and more women in the halls and beyond. ”

agnes van genderen – MB 9-, boartsje klein

Key work

Does she have a key work? She has several. She shows a work from 1996, Remembered Fragments. It is a square with black and white squares playfully arranged. She also finds the January Light made in 2011 important. For this she made etchings on the etching press and then dismantled them, and processed them in the computer to create new images. And in 2012 Holes into my memory came about, a combination of digital drawing and manual drawing.

Agnes: “My real key work is of course always my last work. I am now working on the Hands series.“ She shows two examples, window frames with drawn hands. “I am going to process hands from myself, family members, friends. People appear to have very different hands. Eventually a large wall will be filled with those hands. I want to exhibit it in The Hague, in a gallery at the Hofvijver, in the fall. ”

agnes van genderen – MB 10, agnes blue

Exhibitions 2019

Zonnestraal, Hilversum
9 through 13 Oct.

Month of the graph
Oct. 23 through Nov. 3
Korte Vijverberg 2, The Hague

Images: 1) Symmys rider, 2) symmys wow, 3) symmys nets, 4) vector wave, 5) senang web, 6) surething Monday, 7) family, 8) hidden, 9) boartsje small, 10) Agnes blue

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