Martijn Schuppers


Martijn Schupperss artistic origins lie in the aesthetic of European and American so-called ‘fundamental painting’. Within this we might cide Robert Rymans explicitly materialist approach to making work or Gerhard Richter’s mid-period deconstructionist explorations (the grey paintings and the inpainting). Schuppers’ early work identifies strongly with this approach to painting: in jettisonning, as it did, any outside content and concentrating on the bald facts of making, production reception. This might be exemplified by his early monochromes, such as N.Y. 34 (1994, p.50) where a vertically brushed field is interrupted by a single broad horizontal brushstroke forming a band across the surface. Paintings such as this one appear as the bare bones of Schuppers art. And in this sens it provides a purposive reflection on both the possibilities and the limitations of fundamental painting, which were to become clear as his workd unfold. In the mid 1990s his problems focused on the realism of such approaches to painting, high-lighting the materials base of paint, surface and the activities that meld these toghether as a coherent and cogent representation of the proess. Concreteness, here, positions the works as an object/form that bears the traces of its own making, and that – as a fundamental painter might say – in complex enough. But it didn’t seem enough for Schuppers, as his work in the late 1990s shows a dialectic constantly staged between concreteness and, for want of a better term, image; eventually finding the means to produce such an ‘image’ without compromising the realist concrete set of procedures that bring the work into being. This in itself was, as the artist himself suggests, broughts about by accident:

“One day I painted over an old  problem with a new coat of transparent paint. I was unhappy with the result so I threw some turpentine over it which resulted in part of it dissolving. One would then usually pick up a cloth to remove the paint. This time I did it with a brush out of laziness, from left to right and top to botom, and so the process was born”


Text by: Martijn Schuppers; ‘SURFACE and INCIDENT’