Persona March, 23rd 2023 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 407 - Saar Scheerlings

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 407 – Saar Scheerlings

In the exhibition ‘Unfolding’ in Galerie Fleur & Wouter I saw the varied work of Saar Scheerlings. There was ceramics, colored vases in different lengths and thicknesses, with imaginative drawings, glass balls, unfolded paintings and, above all, the textile works: the Talismans.

A talisman is an object believed to protect against danger, illness and misfortune. An amulet is also such an object, but that mainly wards off negative forces. A talisman does it too, but is mainly a good luck charm. It harnesses positive forces and can even work remotely.

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Hand painted silk

I saw the most beautiful examples, standing on a wooden base, usually with two legs, sometimes very short, a middle part and a top part, but sometimes it was different. It reminded me of the art of the Incas or the Mayas.

They are made of recycled foam rubber that has been cut into slices and then wrapped in hand-painted silk or second-hand linen, and bound together in a self-invented technique.

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Crossroads of cultures

When I speak to Saar Scheerlings, it turns out that there is no connection with the Incas or the Maya. Saar Scheerlings: “People associate it with more countries and continents, for example Africa. I consider it a great compliment that they do that. I have never been to Central America or South America, but I have been to India. I also make the connection with Japan. I sometimes describe my work process as an old trade route or port city. A junction where unknown rituals, goods or manufacturing methods meet and influence each other, creating new forms, customs and cultures.”

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Endlessly busy

She likes ethnographic material, elements from all kinds of cultures. She finds it at the thrift store or people give it to her. “Everything arises. I also build on previous things, without knowing what will come out. I am endlessly busy and all sorts of things arise.” This is how the fold-out paintings arose in response to the talisman. “I like symmetry and was looking for new silhouettes for my textile sculptures. The outcome of the unfolded paintings was interesting enough to make a series of this as well.”

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There were also beautiful colored chalices on display in the gallery. How did she come up with the idea? Is it Catholic? “No, I was looking for a way to bring work closer to people. That is something of my background as a designer, the idea of a utensil and everyday rituals.” Originally she is a designer, she has completed the Design Academy in Eindhoven. But she has distanced herself from the ideas of the Design Academy. There she felt too little room for a working method based on fantasy and fun.

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House in the Morvan

Saar Scheerlings has had her own house in a small village in France in the Morvan (Burgundy) for two years now. The house has a yard with a vegetable garden in which she now grows leeks, garlic, onions and palm cabbage. She’s been there for three and a half years. “My friend’s parents have a holiday home there. Before that I was in a demolition house in Eindhoven. I came here for three months and I never left.”

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Le Maupas A.I.R. Ovens

Her ceramic work also originated in the village. “My village also houses the studio of the ceramics specialist of the Rijksakademie, Pieter Kemink, ‘Le Maupas Artist In Residency’. He makes those ovens himself. Almost every oven in the Netherlands contains his self-developed heating elements. He has three large ovens in the village. So I started claying again. I also did it at the Design Academy, which focused on working with molds. I now build vases by hand with cartographic drawings. When the clay is still soft I start drawing in it. It’s physical work. I combine it with going to the garden, looking at the flowers, chatting with the neighbour, or taking a walk. This creates a cosmos / map in my head that I transfer to the vase. More often in history, stories have been depicted on pots. See the Greco-Roman vases with all kinds of everyday scenes.”

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How long has she been an artist?

“Three years ago I started calling myself an artist. Before that I was a cook in a restaurant. And before that I was at the Design Academy. I have also worked in theatre, assisting set and costume designers. A theater works very uneconomically, which is completely different from designing as at the academy. It is mainly about fantasy to make something beautiful. Then something opened up in me.”

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Finally, what is her experience of art life?

“Art life as organized in Amsterdam with art factories and studios? I don’t have much experience with that. I once had a studio in Eindhoven. That was not very inspiring. In the end I cycled home to work in my own little world at the kitchen table.”

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1) talisman GF&W2 67, 2) talisman pluu 01, 3) talisman pink 2022 small, 4) talisman white 1 2022 3 small, 5) talisman GF&W2 59, 6) talisman detail 2023-02-06, 7) foldouts ceramic GF&W2 43 , 8) foldout 1 GF&W2 45, 9) goblets GF&W2 177, 10) portrait Saar Scheerlings

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