Jeronimus van Pelt

Jeronimus van Pelt
mail@jeronimusvanpelt.nl

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During his training at the Rietveld Academy, Jeronimus van Pelt worked on his art piece Lotus Dreams (1996). This performative installation was a copy of a Chinese restaurant constructed from his memory, recreated in a shop window. He organized dinners and discussions about space with designers, architects and artists.

The work symbolizes Van Pelt’s attitude and method. This can be traced back to a game of demarcation and creating something new. Because in order to fathom the world around him, he has to reconstruct it for himself. This is not about unraveling reality in search of rational answers. Instead, his reconstructions show how the world around him fascinates him, how he experiences, questions and sees his world.

While the first ideas often come about instinctively and intuitively, every detail counts in the development. His reconstructions are realized in meticulously constructed photographic staging, in which details are of great significance and sometimes reveal a personal symbolism. In his structure and way of telling, he repeatedly refers to painting, which is a source of inspiration and which has storytelling traditions with which he feels at home.

His working method makes no distinction between assignments and autonomous work. Although his subjects vary greatly, he often takes inspiration from science, the visual arts and conceptual themes.

 

© 2019–now. All rights reserved.
Website by Studio Harris Blondman


Portraits

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Surprising is the double portrait in the Statenzaal in The Hague of Prime Minister Rutte and an assistance dog. In the chair next to Rutte you would rather expect another political leader with whom, after the photo moment, a serious conversation awaits. We see former minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst smiling from the wrong side of the bar tapping a beer and Princes Máxima looks just as relaxed, informal and close by. The highest judge in the Netherlands gracefully swings his toga around him, his eyes proudly fixed on the ermine in his official garb.

The way in which we portray people is partly determined by culture. Especially when the people portrayed hold a high office. As a result, the viewer is also somewhat pre-programmed. Jeronimus van Pelt, however, is freely surprised by his model and the situation on the spot, and then pursues his own imagination. His portraits are therefore often poetic, humorous, compelling and unconventional. It is also special that he knows how to organize his working method in such a way that his models contribute to his ideas.

At the same time, he works meticulously. Light, material expression, decors and attributes perfectly support the story he wants to tell. The impassive priest’s portrait, for example, is more reminiscent of a painted late medieval or Renaissance portrait than of a photograph of a person made of flesh and blood because of its composition, light, material expression and manner of depiction.

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Browsing Species

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Browsing Species 2018

A visit to the city palace Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome turned out to be the inspiration for the Browsing Species series. No less than two okapis guide the viewer through the hall of mirrors of this palace, which is full of art treasures. You can already glimpse this in the next room: the world-famous portrait of Pope Innocent X painted by Diego Velázquez.

The current owner of the palace is a descendant of this 1644 crowned pope who was born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj. Against all odds, a letter to this Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj turned out to be enough to make a photo staging in the hall of mirrors.

The result is a surreal image in which initially large contradictions come together surprisingly. First of all, there is the eclectic appearance of the okapi, with its characteristics of the giraffe and zebra and with a coat of brown velor. Its native habitat is deep in the forests of Congo. A greater contrast between nature and culture is hardly imaginable, and yet the animal with its stately, elegant appearance does not even seem such a strange appearance in the palace.

Elegance and aesthetics, luxury and fabric expression, uniqueness and value. In Browsing Species, these are the ingredients that seem to forge the palace, the okapis and Velázquez’s world-famous portrait into one species.

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 110 cm x 73cm, The Hague 2018

#galleriadoriapamphilj #okapi #popeinnocentx #screamingpope #velazquez #beautifulbeast #rome #lightanddark

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A letter to Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj dd 17 June 2018

 

Dear Jonathan,
How have you been faring? I’m writing to you to let you know I have finished the art piece (at long last) and named it Browsing species. First off I’d like to thank you ever so much for making it possible for me to make the piece. I’ve been putting some of my considerations to paper and wanted to share them with you. Obviously I’m very interested in your thoughts and ideas about it.

Wikipedia: “For years the okapi was unknown to the Western world until the beginning of the 20th century. Europeans in Africa had heard of an animal that they came to call the African unicorn. In his travelogue of exploring the Congo, Henry Morton Stanley mentioned a kind of donkey that the natives called the Anti, which scholars later identified as the okapi.

When the British governor of Uganda, Sir Harry Johnston, discovered some pygmy inhabitants of the Congo being abducted by a showman for exhibition, he rescued them and promised to return them to their homes. The grateful pygmies fed Johnston’s curiosity about the animal mentioned in Stanley’s book. Though Johnston did not see an okapi himself, he did manage to obtain, with the help of the pigmies, pieces of striped skin and eventually a skull. From this skull, the okapi was correctly classified as a relative of the giraffe. In 1901, the species was formally recognised as Okapia Johnstoni.”

 

Image - Browsing Species sketch

Browsing Species sketch

I hardly ever use animals in my art pieces but the fascination for the Okapi is one that I had for a long time. It’s one of those images that I subconsciously carried around with me and it was when I wandered the halls and rooms of the Doria Pamphilj palazzo that I realised what to do with this intriguement.

There is a very natural resemblance between the atmosphere of the okapi and the Renaissance style of the Doria Pamphilj palazzo. It’s the animals look and energy that make a beautiful almost harmonious fit with the rich decorations and luscious gold ever present. In the Congo okapi’s live solitary in the woods and are hardly ever seen by humans. They’re a shy animal and their solitude fits their natural contemplative look. This look seems to suggest a lightly depressed tendency and a complex emotional inner life, to me. A skittish nature yet proud posture and those deep big black eyes in their grey coloured head. They could be a king or nobleman being very bored with all he has, longing for that what he has not, the unobtainable. In the Netherlands we have a rich merchant whom said: ‘I’d rather be depressed in the back of a Rolls Royce then in a Deux chevaux’.

So, even when it’s highly unlikely and seemingly contradictory for okapi’s to wander through the palazzo, they are a perfect match. The gold and tapestries of the palazzo compliment beautifully with the lavish velvety shine of the okapi’s skin. I’ve seen the Okapis in the zoo where they obviously don’t belong and I dare say that besides their natural habitat in the forests of the Congo they’re second natural habitat would be wondering the hall’s of the Doria Pamphilij museum. Browsing species.

It looks like the okapi is naturally made up out of two different species. Often when two different things or entities are combined into one there’s some form of conflict. It’s everywhere around us and If done well there’s a determination in the will to combine that appeals to me. For instance in Zaha Hadid’s (died in 2016) build of the harbour house in Antwerp. https://www.dearchitect.nl/​projecten/​havenhuis-antwerpen-zaha-hadid-architects

There are other animals made up out of different species like the platypus but they’re aesthetically les interesting to me because of a lack of elegance that the okapi does have. Okapi’s are also priceless because there’s so few of them. It’s this elegance, luxuriousness, rareness and pricelessness that binds the palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the portrait of Innocentius X by Velazquez and the okapi’s into the art piece. Browsing species.

Looking forward to seeing you.
All the very best!
Jeronimus


Scenes

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Minerva for life

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The many plastic cups and the bright daylight that shines from behind the velor curtains on the still wet floor betrays that we are looking at ‘the day after’. We see a kind of altar in which all kinds of meaningful objects are suitable: banners, statuettes, a costume, ties, books. Lilies lie between the objects. Two motorcyclists flank the gaudy structure. The whole is reminiscent of a beautiful still life and a vanitas in one. For the transience of the feast and the transience of the flowers betray an allegorical scene.

That scene has to do with the history of the Leiden student society Minerva and also the place of action. The reason for the narrative, staged photo series ‘Minerva for life’ was the 200th anniversary of this Leiden student society. Selected for his carefully constructed performances, Jeronimus van Pelt was given access to this student world that normally remains closed to non-members. He was given a free hand to reimagine Minerva within his own artistic vision.

The scenes were meticulously conceived, built and directed by Van Pelt. Former members who now occupy their social function play a contemplative or active role in some scenes. For example, in a scene in which Goddess Minerva sends stupidity away - young boys with neckties like donkey’s ears - politician Hans van Balen in the role of the neutral spectator. In another scene we recognize writer Nelleke Noordervliet. An exclusively female company is holding a board meeting here. The chairman leans her hammer on a sumptuously set table. Fertility, emancipation, knowledge and power all united in the female figure. It seems like a hint to a matriarchal society.

The photos tell about the mores and the rituals of the society. The vehemence of society life, in which life seems to be lived in an enlarged form, revolves around preparing young people for their place in society. But the symbolism in the scenes goes further. Life within the club, Van Pelt seems to say, is a combination of what our life is all about. Because in line with your social life, your social role and the knowledge you acquire, there are the issues that everyone has to deal with. In personifications and (sometimes personal) symbolism, Van Pelt depicted love, fertility and transience.

Art history as an important source of inspiration we see here, just as in other photo series. The theatrical staged approach with its exuberant symbolism is reminiscent of Dutch genre painting. And in materiality and texture, light and light, composition and in the contemplative role of figures who are partly outside the scene, the painting of Vélazquez, Rembrandt or Van Eyck echoes.

Photography: Jeronimus van Pelt - Styling: Eric Stofmeel, Ton of Holland and Jeronimus van Pelt - Lighting: Eric Stofmeel and Thomas Heere - Production: Peter Reijn, Lavinia Lurvink, Mette Visser, and Josephine Cleyndert - Make up: Milla Kramenstetter and Chistel Mijers - Clothing: OGER, Maison de Bonneterie and Minerva - Printed: Durst Lambda photo print semi-matte glued behind 3 mm Truelife perspex on a 3mm black acrylic with a 20mm black hanging system, size 90 cm x 120 cm
 

Image - Vanitas
, a large accumulation of stuff

Vanitas
, a large accumulation of stuff

Minerva’s society building is used in every nook and crevice. Old and new traditions introduced by many generations of members find their significance in the Mores and the more tangible attributes. The members grow up to become Alumni, they’ll return to the building every now and then, but the introduced stuff remains behind. The Members are here only for a short while, Minerva is forever!

Image - The tale of the fireplace
 brought to life

The tale of the fireplace
 brought to life

Acquiring knowledge and gaining one’s position in the world is what the scene at the fireplace is about. Goddess Minerva shoves stupidity aside. The fresh men are like human donkeys, blazing pink piglets in the worn awayness of times passed, sternly sent away under the watchful eye of the seniors. New alliances are being forged, brotherhoods created, the fundament lain for friendships for life.

Image - Amazonia 
‘about female supremacy’

Amazonia 
‘about female supremacy’

The ladies gather in an exclusive female meeting. They’re a sight for sore eyes, showing their magnificent beauty wearing their fine evening dresses and precious jewelry. Combativeness and sexuality. The homogeneity of the group emphasizes the power of female superiority. These civilised women, wearing their impractical footwear, look like they’ll gracefully stride away to actually take matters in hand.

Image - Hey now baby, let’s do the romp

Hey now baby, let’s do the romp

At the basis of this massive romp there might well have been a serious difference of opinion. The truth, that ship has sailed: the dispute must be settled at all costs! Reluctantly the loser shares a beer with the victor. Constantly looking for an opportunity to settle the disagreement for good, in their own favour.
Let’s romp around!

Image - The merger 1973 
‘a mating dance’

The merger 1973 
‘a mating dance’

The merger portrayed: the conformation of the Leiden based students corps ‘Virtus Concordia Fides’ (1839) with the Association of Female students in Leiden (1900) into student society ‘Minerva’. It is always mating season in the ‘Hifi’ disco. As in any disco, the girls invite the guys to ‘come hither’. They will.

Image - Pan Provincial Congres 2014, LOL at Sociëteit Mien Erve 
‘a funny scene’

Pan Provincial Congres 2014, LOL at Sociëteit Mien Erve 
‘a funny scene’

A stage within a stage. Beautifully polished actors depict the Mores, the special rules that are the cement of Minerva life. Not to be taken too seriously, laugh out loud at them. But never TOO loud.

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RADIO

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Physical or digital? The contrast is the similarity. Because although the digital world is barely visible, it is also characterized by growth, development, navigation and an immense size. We are, as it were, in transition, both physically and digitally, through an endless and ever-changing world.

The RADIO series is the result of an assignment from the National Academy for Digitization and Informatization Government. The question was: depict the digital world in an almost abstract way. The high level of abstraction within the assignment gave the freedom to make an autonomous photo series, in which a parallel has been found with the architecture of Rem Koolhaas. His office OMA became known for a new approach to space and architecture.

The photos were taken exclusively in the Koolhaas buildings, such as the Educatorium in Utrecht. People move through sometimes indefinable spaces, where the complex reflections are a metaphor for the different worlds in which we find ourselves.

#commissionedart #RADIO @oma.eu #reflections #transparency #digitalworld #art #exhibition #humanpresence #intransit #information #light #architecture #traces #acquire #loneliness #city #autonomous #voluntarily #surface

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 110 cm x 73cm, The Hague 2019

 


The Industry Series

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Just like the RADIO series, this series of artworks was commissioned. Here it was expressly asked to look at the phenomenon of the chemical industry as an artist. Not with the intention to create aesthetic images for once, but to look at this phenomenon as a whole with different eyes, in the hope that the images raise fundamental questions for the viewer. Because while environmental pollution will probably be one of the first associations, this industry is about much more than that. About regional sense, pride, even tourism. About origin, manufacturability and use. Life on Earth arose from chemical elements and almost every product in the created world has at one time been in contact with chemistry.

The five largest chemical industries in the Netherlands were visited for this series: DOW Chemical in Terneuzen, Tata Steel in IJmuiden, Chemelot in Geleen, Exxon Mobil in Rotterdam and the RWE power plant in Eemshaven. The Industry series was exhibited in Nieuwspoort in The Hague to an audience of representatives of this industry, from the national government and NGOs. Film director Arno Dierickx gave his vision of the work. He saw surprising points of view, usually inconspicuous details and striking combinations between industry, people, air and nature. “What the series communicates to me as a whole is that my view of the industry is clouded. It is a series that shows that it is difficult to look at industry, but also that the industry is not used to showing itself. ”

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 110 cm x 73cm, The Hague 2019

#industry #collective #connected #humanity #power #mores #beautifulbeast #intransition #planet #energy #lightanddark #manmade #safety

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Natural Habitat Adventures

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In the Natural Habitat Adventures series, excess and gluttony are striking themes. The place of trading is De Witte society in The Hague. The residence of this private association, founded in 1782, provides the artist with a suitable setting for “spielerei” with his beloved themes. We see a man bent on about the most extravagant dish in the world: a Tournedos Rossini, in which a steak is combined with richly buttered gravy, foie gras and truffle. Despite being in an upscale eatery, the man doesn’t seem to be able to resist the temptation to briefly touch the dish with his fingers.

The namesake of this famous classic dish is the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, to whom top French chefs secretly served this king’s meal in their eateries. In another photo from this series, the reference to the artist Berndnaut Smilde is striking, famous for his artificial clouds in interiors. The still same visitor to De Witte society has now blown a beautiful cloud with his pipe that covers his head in mist.

This series brings together a number of themes that fascinate Jeronimus van Pelt and that regularly recur in his work. Such as the motives of man and his underlying psychology, a common thread in his oeuvre. Much of his work also refers to the visual arts and art history that produce so many iconic images. Despite themes such as gluttony and excess and references to art history, Van Pelt does not associate his subjects with good or evil. He wants to address his audience in anything but admonition. He finds it fascinating to give in to lust, extravagance and gluttony.

In connection with this, he increases the tension again by introducing an observer into the image. Such as the waiter who must be able to see the guest in the restaurant from the corner of his eye. Another way to present a viewer is to give the viewer a sense of voyeurism, inspired by the unusual scenes that are presented to him. Like the eater who got it all too much and fell dead in his plate of soup. The viewer irrevocably has an opinion about what he sees. Van Pelt: “The idea that someone in the scene has a certain opinion different from what you see in the photo, I find very fascinating.”

The photos of Natural Habitat Adventures have been published in the magazine published by the De Witte society. Many who have dreamed of these photos will not be aware of the sculptural work that goes with them. Sometimes it takes days to build a set. This makes Van Pelt’s work reminiscent of artists such as Jeff Wall or Erwin Olaf, who show a total approach with their work.

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 110 cm x 73cm, The Hague 2017-2019

 

#naturalhabitatadventures #psychologyofeating #physicalidentity #indulgences #tournedosrossini #chap #lightanddark #artphotography #artcollector #jeronimusvanpelt

Image - Natural Habitat Adventures #3 - About indulgences, inspired by Gioachino Rossini’s love of the Tournedos Rossini. Tournedos Rossini is a French steak dish, purportedly created for the composer Gioachino Rossini by the French master chefs Marie-Antoine Carême or Adolphe Dugléré, or by Savoy Hotel chef Auguste Escoffier. The dish comprises an beef tournedos (filet mignon), pan-fried in butter, served on a crouton, and topped with a hot slice of fresh whole foie gras briefly pan-fried at the last minute. The dish is garnished with slices of black truffle and finished with a Madeira demi-glace sauce.

Natural Habitat Adventures #3 - About indulgences, inspired by Gioachino Rossini’s love of the Tournedos Rossini. Tournedos Rossini is a French steak dish, purportedly created for the composer Gioachino Rossini by the French master chefs Marie-Antoine Carême or Adolphe Dugléré, or by Savoy Hotel chef Auguste Escoffier. The dish comprises an beef tournedos (filet mignon), pan-fried in butter, served on a crouton, and topped with a hot slice of fresh whole foie gras briefly pan-fried at the last minute. The dish is garnished with slices of black truffle and finished with a Madeira demi-glace sauce.

Image - Natural Habitat Adventures #2 - About indulgences, inspired by Berndnaut Smilde’s cloud art photography.

Natural Habitat Adventures #2 - About indulgences, inspired by Berndnaut Smilde’s cloud art photography.

Image - Natural Habitat Adventures #1 - About indulgences while secretly being Heineken advertising campaign photography.

Natural Habitat Adventures #1 - About indulgences while secretly being Heineken advertising campaign photography.

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Howl!

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Howl! is the title of an ongoing photo series inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s poem ’Howl’ written in 1955. Jeronimus van Pelt reflects in this series on the concept of inner wildness in relation to physical identity.

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 70 cm x 52,5 cm, The Hague 2016


Play

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“Play” is a series of photo portraits of a group of students. Jeronimus van Pelt made the series at the Gymnasium Haganum in The Hague while the group receives drama lessons from teacher Peter Reijn. The students have to take on the role of a character from classical theater literature. They have properly prepared their dialogue or monologue and are well in their role. The concentration is optimal and there is a tense silence.

High school students are constantly looking for their own identity. Their young faces are starting to show more pronounced features and just maybe their character is already shining through. But during the drama class, they have to assume the identity and character of the character they are to play. This creates a visible tension between who they really are - or are becoming - and the person they play. The result is a poetic cocktail of their own budding identity and that of the character.

Jeronimus van Pelt has been photographing the series annually since 2011 with students from the 4th and 5th year.

Lambda Photo print semi-mat, 3mm Trulife Perspex, 3mm Dibond, 110 cm x 73cm, The Hague 2018

#dramaclass #acting #incharacter #identity #monologue #haganum #lightanddark

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Lotus Dreams

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Lotus Dreams 1996

Space as the subject of observation, interpretation and discussion. That was the meaning of Lotus Dreams, a much discussed performative installation in the center of The Hague. While still studying at the Amsterdam Rietveld Academy, Jeronimus van Pelt built a copy of a Chinese restaurant in a shop window to which he visited regularly in his youth. Whether it was an actual copy remains the question. Drawing on his memory, it was the copy of the restaurant as it had been stored in his head.

Not a single detail was missing within the typical aesthetic of gold in combination with red. Even an aquarium had been thought of. That made the recognition all the greater. And yet nothing was as it seemed. Because the construction of this shop window restaurant was not so much related to a Chinese restaurant as such, as to recognition and appropriation, authenticity and identity. “For people of my generation,” van Pelt said in an interview, “such a Chinese restaurant is just as Dutch as a potato.”

The space itself was the main subject with its curious decor. Van Pelt organized dinners and discussions with artists and designers about space. “Lotus Dreams is, as it were, a show box. The work is about my experiment with space: experiencing space, capturing it and its meaning. I play with it. I demarcate and allow something new to emerge within that framework. “A dialogue between the real and the dreamed space. That is how you could describe Van Pelt’s artistry. Lotus Dreams symbolizes this.

Lotus Dreams is an art installation in the Nobelstraat 10, 6m x 4m x 3m, The Hague 1996

#lotusdreams #scenario #convictions #imprint #love

 

Image - Uitnodiging, Den Haag, 1996

Uitnodiging, Den Haag, 1996

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