Persona June, 4th 2020 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 266 - Hans Ensink op Kemna

hans ensink – 1, BASEMENT 70X 70 2015

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 266 – Hans Ensink op Kemna
Through the window of Galerie 44 in the Molenstraat in The Hague I saw large works with block-like patterns in four / five colors. The artist was happy to provide explanations in a space behind the gallery, the former secret church (a church not recognizable as such from the outside, as used by Roman Catholics in Protestant Holland in the past) in the Juffrouw Idastraat.
I had previously written about that secret church – beautiful Baroque, but Dutch Baroque. Why did Ensink at Kemna invite me here? It becomes clear to me when I get there. On the left on the wall of the church are his works, six paintings, also in blocks, again with a limited number of colors per painting.

hans ensink – 2, KLEE 80X65CM 2009

Formal principles
Ensink op Kemna’s works fit well under the high church windows above and in the whole of the church, where a beautiful series hangs on the opposite wall. Every painting on this wall has a Hebrew character and the total is called ‘The five books of Moses’, maker: Ruud Bartlema.
This work compares well with the works on the left wall of Ensink on Kemna, which together with the works in the gallery itself (connected to the secret church) have the title ‘Homeland’. Looking for a place to write, I arrive at the lectern from which the epistle and the gospel are normally read. Looking to his works on the wall Hans Ensink explains.

hans ensink – 3, PORTRET

“My work is purely about painting. I am not so much concerned with depicting reality, the point of departure is more in the painting as reality. With formal principles: shape and color and the proportions between them. My work is non-figurative. I usually use a geometry-based form language such as lines, rectangles, squares and circles.”
A geometry-based image is a powerful image, says Ensink op Kemna. “Clear, simple and translucent. Geometric shapes are universal, in and of themselves they do not represent any representation other than themselves, and therefore form the ideal basis to use in my work. ”

hans ensink – 5, Z.T. 2X 180X80CM. 2017

We look at the painting closest to us. I see four blocks in three colors, a thin orange line around the four blocks and a blue outer border around it. “The orange line around the middle block ensures that the painting gets depth, the middle block is released from the background,” says Ensink on Kemna. We look at the painting next to it. 16 blocks, all sizes the same. It is a double divided square with all different shades. “You can make different squares out of it,” says Ensink op Kemna. And indeed, that’s right. It seems like a geometrical riddle as you can find it on the internet.

hans ensink – 6-, Z.T. 30X50CM. 2016

It seems so clear and measured, but making it turns out to be very different. “The process is based on failure. You start to fill in boxes, but it is never good right away. Then I start sanding: I remove everything until I have a bare surface again, defined in squares.” The boxes are a guide, but the details can be removed several times.

hans ensink – 7-, Z.T. 35 X 30 CM 2011

The making process can vary a lot. “Sometimes everything works out at once and sometimes it is hard work, sanding down and starting over. And sometimes it freezes, then it looks good but just not good enough. You put that work away and after a while you let it reappear, you look at it fresh again and everything goes back from scratch. But it also happens that eventually there are also works that end in in the garbage bin. “
“It always starts with an idea and you try to implement it. While working, new ideas and possibilities develop. It is important that you hope that something happens somewhere along the way, so that the work suddenly becomes detached from its environment, becomes more itself and, as it were, presents itself in a new dimension. Jan Dibbets once said that making art is 95% working and 5% magic. When you work you try to keep as long as possible space for coincidence, something you did not know before. But at some point that will be over and you have to finish the painting. ”

hans ensink – 8, Z.T. 40 X 40 CM. 2015

He can’t do magic, he says “And I don’t assume Dibbets either, but I do understand what he meant by that magic. For my own sake, I will call the special moment the divine moment, the moment that life is breathed into the work. That moment, it is never clear whether it will present itself, let alone in what capacity. There are, however, a few options to facilitate that moment, to wrap the circumstances around it, as it were. ”
An exhibition in a secret church probably helps to give God his moment. Ensink on Kemna: “It starts with being open to it. That seems logical to me. If you are not open to something, the other person can do his best to convince you, but then it will not be possible to come together. Openness is therefore a requirement, the next important moment is recognition. Recognizing the form in which that SOMETHING occurs. “

hans ensink – 9-, Z.T. 40X50CM. 2016

Queen Beatrix
Hans Ensink at Kemna went on a later age to the Art Academy, the AKI in Enschede. Before that he worked as hospital nurse. He was already 28, and 34 when he graduated. He moved to The Hague because he had to explain to everyone in Apeldoorn, where he first lived, what he was doing as an artist. “I had to go to an environment with like-minded people. That was one of the three major cities. It became The Hague because my girlfriend got a job there. ”

hans ensink – 10, Z.T. 70X70CM. 2017

He was successful almost immediately. He won the Royal Subsidy. The opening of the winners exhibition in the Palace on Dam Square was done by Queen Beatrix. “She was the first to buy a work from me.” That gave his career a strong boost. He found shelter in Galerie Van Kranendonk. “It went like crazy, the first ten years. I received a starting stipend, various work grants, sold work. In addition, I received assignments for painting in buildings, such as ceilings. For example, to make a large glass mobile I worked for another six months in the glass workshop of Van Tetterode in Amsterdam. ”
In The Hague he had found connections with local art life. “The HCAK in Wagenstraat in particular was a dynamic place at the time. I met many Hague colleagues through HCAK. In the mid-nineties the ‘white cube’ became more and more a topic of discussion as exhibition space, the art had to take place more in real life.” Various artists’ initiatives arose in the city, sometimes in squat spaces, around the Boekhorststraat.

hans ensink – 11, Z.T. 180X140CM 2016

He joined the artists’ initiative LUXUS.
But after about ten years it slowly became less. “I looked up my roots at the AKI again and exhibited in Hengelo, Enschede and Apeldoorn.” To keep sufficient income, he took up part-time healthcare jobs again. He currently works as a male nurse at GGZ for part of the week.
Focus on small and personal work
In retrospect, does he have a philosophical conclusion? “Certainly. In my view, the role of painting today is not to try to compete with the new media by means of increasingly spectacular looking works. It is much more interesting to focus on small and personal work. ”
With recent art history as a starting point, he wants to investigate where the space lies to elaborate on previously started developments. “The acceptance of that position of painting gives me the freedom and space to further develop my work.”
Images: 1) Basement, 70 x 70 cm, 2015, 2) Klee, 80 x 65 cm, 2009, 3) Hans Ensink on Kemna, 4) ZT, 2 x 180 x 80 cm, 2017, 5), ZT, 30 x 50 cm, 2016, 6) ZT, 35 x 30 cm, 2011, 7) ZT, 40 x 40 cm, 2015, 8) ZT, 40 x 50 cm, 2016, 9) ZT 70 x 70 cm, 2017, 10) SAT, 180 x 140 cm, 2016

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