From 13 November the Van Abbemuseum will be showing recent work by the Dutch painter Michael Raedecker (b. 1963) in its temporary premises. After studying at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam and elsewhere, in 1996 Raedecker went to London to spend two years at the well-known Goldsmiths' College. He recently won the most prestigious award for painting in England, the John Moores Prize. Raedecker is also one of the few Dutch artists to be represented in the famous Saatchi collection.
Raedecker's paintings are characterised by a sophisticated and exquisite use of threads and embroideries in combination with paint, which is sometimes very thinly applied and sometimes 'poured' thickly on to the canvas. But the main feature of his paintings is their unusual visual vocabulary, which at the same time seems very familiar. Landscapes, the exteriors of bungalows, interiors and the occasional portrait form the subjects of his work. People, or even traces of a human presence, are absent. Yet one senses their presence. Is it perhaps the precise framing of the images that gives one the feeling that the empty exteriors and interiors are being seen through human eyes? Or is it one's own gaze that attaches itself to the images that look so familiar?
In these paintings a game is played with no holds barred, a game of leaving out and filling in. On the one hand these are empty, almost sketch-like images consisting of only a few lines. On the other hand, they are archetypal, familiar-looking scenes. Despite their seemingly schematic quality, his paintings achieve this effect partly by constructing the image from details rendered with extreme care. This, together with an almost cinematic framing, means that Raedecker manages to give his works the potential of places or scenes which may appear familiar, but at the same time he ensures that they elude more precise definition.
On the occasion of this exhibition a book will appear on the work of Michael Raedecker.