7) THINNER-SPIRITS-Gijs-van-Lith-Kunsthal Rotterdam 2018 10

THINNER SPIRITS, Rotterdam Kunsthal, Rotterdam, NL

The work of the artist Gijs van Lith playfully flouts our expectation and fundamental notion of what a painting is or should be. Inspired by Abstract Expressionism, Action Painting and other movements, he explores the possibility of making a painting that consists of nothing more than the raw material and contains only a hint of being a painting. In this process he pushes the material to its physical limits. He often starts with a grid-like system, from wire netting to pixels from which digital images are constructed. He builds up his work meticulously with layers of paint applied by hand and mechanically to the canvas. The layers of paint are then scraped clean until holes appear in the canvas and the painting can barely hold together.

The layered, dynamic layers of paint function as a rhythmical log of the actions of the artist. Various materials and stages of the work are visible without being preceded by a narrative thread or pre-conceived composition. Van Lith wants to discover the body language of painting and to find new possibilities of communicating with his work. In THINNER SPIRITS Van Lith explores the relation between body and mind, the points of contact and contrasts between materiality and its opposite. His interest in surface, spatiality and composition are all combined in this installation. His desire to invite people to discover his works in their tactile materiality can be felt in the Kunsthal display window.