Gerben Mulder


Gerben Mulder was born in Amsterdam in 1972. Even when he was very young he felt a strong urge to express his feelings; as early as at the age of four he took up the cello fanatically, to answer the call. As he grew up he started painting and drawing, and in his teens he was drawn to the rough street life in Rotterdam, the city where he lived at the time. The dangerous side of life greatly appealed to him. Its fervour became a source of inspiration for his drawings, collages and paintings. It was then that he decided to become a painter. As an autodidact he directly and instinctively expresses the dynamics of his environment and his private life.

In 1993 he left the Netherlands and took up residence in New York City but he also travelled frequently to Brazil. At first he found life in the American city tough and hectic and he had to take on several jobs to scrape together a living. But after a couple of years he was noticed in the art world and he became successful. He considers this world a stage where he has to present himself clearly to stand his ground as an artist.

Gerben Mulder is an expressionist painter and drawer pur sang. He works in a direct manner and apparently without layers. In a way, he blends in with the dynamics of the American movement of abstract expressionism; his intense use of lines and the often overall compositions may evoke Jackson Pollock’s work. At the same time we are reminded of the early 20th-century German and French expressionists, though Mulder’s use of colour is harsher and his brush technique is often sharp and graphical. He also considers himself to be one of the later European expressionists.

His artistic dynamism also reveals itself in his way of working. Mulder can be found working on several works simultaneously, alternately using different techniques and materials.

He is both a painter and a drawer, and he creates murals.

The artist’s paintings and drawings are predominantly figurative, even if he seems to be working with a tempestuous passion more likely reserved for an abstract approach. In fact, Mulder’s directness renders the use of concepts such as figurative and abstract arbitrary. Neither can his artistic genre be classified unambiguously. On the contrary, floral still lifes and narrative scenes, traditionally regarded as contemplative subjects, become the expressive pillars of a fiercely emotional state of mind