Persona March, 17th 2022 by

.World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 356 - Robert Roelink

robert roelink – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 356 – Robert Roelink
In Hilton Artlab in Rotterdam I saw the exhibition ‘Reflections on Water’. It was a large art installation by Robert Roelink, Jasper de Gelder and Eddy Kaijser. You imagine yourself in a beautiful underwater world, you walk between fish and seaweed.
It is a three-dimensional experience in which various elements from underwater nature are blown up to enormous proportions. A meter-long sea lamprey and an angelfish form the basis, floating over a created water surface. As a visitor you walk with dry feet over an artificial body of water, the Plastic Soup.

robert roelink – 2

Blue with silver-grey stripes
The entire installation is made of plastic. I spoke in Hilton Artlab with one of the makers, Robert Roelink. With a string, the visitor can make the sea lamprey make undulating swimming movements. The mighty ocean lies before us in blue with silver-grey streaks. It is certainly thirty meters long and you can enter. “Yesterday there was a whole group of young tourists walking in it. They even came back – with the the group leader – again!”
Behind the ocean is a brown rock. When it gets dark, the LED strips turn on and spread a brown glow. There are also LED strips in the ocean that give the visitor the feeling of being in a completely different world.

robert roelink – 3

The plastic age
Roelink tries to capture the plastic era in his work, he says. “My work highlights themes such as the environmental problem, the polarization of democracy, the tendency to glorify economic values and the new revolutions.” He uses materials such as household plastic, waste plastic, acrylic and tape. With this he makes a diversity of works, from paintings, collages, images and performances to installations on location.
Roelink: “I try to make art that exposes contemporary culture. I contrast these themes with the power of nature, which will always outlive us, I am looking for new hope.”

robert roelink – 4

Why is this theme important to him? “If you participate in a culture like here in the West, then you have to dare to look at yourself in the mirror. To what extent do I want to participate in plastic consumption? To what extent do I support capitalism? To what extent do I support the arms trade? Only by confronting myself as an artist with this, by thinking in images, do I respond to today’s society.”

robert roelink – 5

He doesn’t want to impose anything, he explains. “I just share my thoughts, transform my thoughts into images. I respect all other animals, which I do not eat and do not fight with weapons, nor with words. I am just a person with an individual thought, my wisdom, which I share.”

robert roelink – 6

Zaandam and Vlissingen
His plastic soup originated in Zaandam in 2012 with ‘The Wave’. Local residents helped him stick plastic collages together on the windows in a Project Room. The following year, the plastic soup was placed in a vacant shop in Vlissingen. A new white section was added, which can also now be seen in Rotterdam. “People could go into the plastic soup. They were amazed by the stained glass effect that could be seen inside. At one point we blew the ocean out through the door.”

robert roelink – 7

Key work
Does Roelink have a key work in his entire oeuvre? “I have several. The plastic soup, not only as it is here, but also in its other guises. The red tank blown up in various locations is a key work, as is the sculpture ‘Fallen humanity’ and the installation ‘The last glacier’. I’m not even talking about my paintings and collages.”
To make the red tank, Robert Roelink went to the War Museum in Overloon. He wrapped it – à la Christo – with red plastic so that it had the right shape. It then became an inflatable tank that could be seen in 2015 in Rotterdam on the Schouwburgplein during Motel Mozaique.

robert roelink – 11

Roelink graduated young at the Art Academy. “At the end of 1995 I had finished at the academy in Kampen when I was 21.” As a graphic designer he immediately started his own business as an independent entrepreneur. “Besides my designs, I always had time to keep painting. At the age of 30 I finally broke with the graphic profession and I could fully focus on autonomous work.”

robert roelink – 13

Art nomad
He has now been an art nomad for almost 19 years and and he does it from a camper, a house on wheels. With this he travels his projects in Europe and beyond. In addition, he has a studio of 250m2 in the middle of the Netherlands. “I have one foot in the middle of society and with the other I want to keep the possibility to live as free as a fish in my habitat: nature. Not on the run but always flexible looking.” For the past five years he has been accompanied by his girlfriend Femke, a photographer with major projects, including in New York.

robert roelink – 14

Finally, what is his philosophy, if not already clear? Roelink: “The edges of our society have been reached and current politics and its voters seem unable to give it direction. Artists, philosophers and scientists are needed right now to propose new ways. Governing out of fear or profit is not a sustainable vision.”
1 – 4) The Plastic Soup, 5) Robert Roelink, 6 – 7) Just one bird can show us our freedom; A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, 8 – 10) FINAL GLACIER

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest article are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Marbella Marbella website. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with the author.


What did you think of this article?

The latest ideas for you to check out

The latest hits for you to check out