Persona April, 7th 2022 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 359 - Benita Mylius

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 359 – Benita Mylius
In The Hague Art Circle (Haagse Kunstkring) I saw impressive works about the power of nature. Roots and also branches of trees run like a tangle in and through each other. They have no consideration for anything, all boundaries and obstacles are broken and if necessary circumvented.

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The works were created by Benita Mylius, who has been active as an artist in The Hague for about twenty years. I visited her in her studio on the Prinsegracht. The studio has two rooms, one for making the paintings and another, slightly to the back, for making graphic work. There is a large etching press.

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The power of nature
Nature has enormous power, says Benita Mylius. “Man is expanding at the expense of nature. Man is able to erect great buildings, to build streets and cities. But in the end, nature is more powerful than man and she takes back what man has taken from her.”

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Roots are central to the exhibition in The Hague Art Circle. “They seem so sweet, so harmless, so quiet, as if they can do no wrong. And they are beautiful too. Look into the forest when strong roots come off the tree and lie bent on the ground, often with beautiful colors on them from moss or fungus. But what power there is behind a root! They can crack streets, drill holes in walls, or flatten a house. In Asia, and also in the jungle elsewhere, there are gigantic thick roots that completely close up abandoned temples or houses until the walls are no longer visible and the buildings are squeezed together, until ruins remain.”
Roots not only destroy, they are also important for the survival of nature and humanity. Benita: “It is a very fascinating subject. You can look at this topic from many angles. You can approach it practically or look at it philosophically. Man as perpetrator or victim or both. Nature that is so wonderful, so versatile and which keeps on regenerating itself.”
But nature is also fickle. “We have been experiencing this around us to a large extent for several years now. Nevertheless, in nature there is regularity, a repetition, a cycle.”

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The cycle of nature
If you choose art, motivation and fascination for a cause is very important, says Benita. “My fascination for this theme is the great dimension it contains. It is graspable and not graspable. It encompasses life, passing away and arising again. You could also say that my fascination consists in measuring all those forces that this subject encompasses.”

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Her central theme is therefore ‘the cycle of nature’. That consists of four components. The first is the breakdown, the second the power of nature with a series on overgrowth and a series on roots. The third component is silence and the fourth is reconstruction. She has yet to start with the reconstruction component – which concludes the whole. It will take a few more years until she has completed everything. It then includes dozens of works, paintings, prints and sculptures.

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Woodcuts and linocuts
One or two days a week she is active with woodcuts and linocuts. She also does it every now and then when a painting needs to dry. She uses the etching press to print on paper and sometimes even directly on the wood. The subjects are the same as those in the paintings. Some woodcuts and linocuts show refugees who have just experienced a major disaster. Water is currently the subject of woodcuts. “Water seems harmless, but it has great power. It can do a lot of harm to humans. It doesn’t matter to nature.” She often prints using a spoon. “With a spoon I can control how closely I press. I occasionally stand on the table to have more gravity. With that spoon everything becomes a bit airy, lighter. But all around, around the edges it is mostly pitch black.”

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Key work
Does Benita have a key work, an important work that may have heralded a new direction? She appears to have a key work in all parts of her oeuvre. “In the demolition section, I chose a ruin that I consider important for myself. In the force of nature, the series of overgrowth, it is a painting of a forest and in the series of roots it is a large bundle of roots, of which you do not know whether they are proliferating under the earth or above, on the ground, they can also float.”

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How long has she been active as an artist?
She has been an artist since her childhood. “I have always drawn and tried different materials. Rather, it was something I enjoyed, and I had no plans yet to choose this as my profession.” When she later went to study at an institute for painting in Düsseldorf, things got quite serious. That was around the year 2000. In 2003 she started at the Free Academy in The Hague. “Then the work was focused and serious, I started working hard.”

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Finally, what is her experience of the art life?
“It’s a hard life, you do a lot and you get little in return. You always have the idea in the back of your mind that all your work for humanity is superfluous, nobody asks for it and you receive no salary. But the beautiful moments dominate and they are there very often and very intense. I feel like a creator, I create art, what more do I want? While I’m working, it’s so exciting and I enjoy it so much. After a successful painting I am so proud of myself. I don’t want to trade for nothing, really.”
1) See-through ll, oil on canvas, 130 x 200, 2012, 2) Power of the nature lV, oil on canvas, 80 x 120 cm, 2020, 3) Watch out lll, oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm, 2020, 4) Verwurzelungen Vlll, oil on canvas, 70 x 60 cm, 2020, 5) Watch out Vl, oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm, 2020, 6) Power of nature lll, oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm, 2020, 7) Baugelände lll, woodcut on wooden plank, 154 cm x 98, 2018, 8) Wasserspiele, linocut on paperprint, 26 x 60 cm, 2017, 9) Lightening over see, woodcut on paperprint, 24 x 37.5 cm, 2021, 10) Benita Mylius

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