Museum Folkwang - Essen
29 / 09 / 2017 – 14 / 01 / 2018

The Museum Folkwang is devoting an exhibition to Catharina van Eetvelde. Ilk shows van Eetvelde’s multifaceted oeuvre which draws on the formal elements of scientific illustrations.

For years, Belgian artist Catharina van Eetvelde (b. 1967 in Ghent) has made a vital contribution to the evolution of the medium of drawing in a contemporary context. Expanding the traditional method of drawing on paper to include new possibilities created by digital technology, she has made the use of PC and drawing tablets an integral part of her work.

This has fundamentally altered her process: “To draw with vectors means for me that time and space collapse. Every line I draw becomes a potential fraction of time, which means that I cannot only freely iterate back, forth, zoom etc. within a drawing, but also that a drawing’s saturation is never reached” (Catharina van Eetvelde).

Sometimes the linear shapes developed in this manner function as starting points for animated films. More frequently, though, the artist accurately transfers them onto paper in a labour-intensive process.The concept of material has been of central importance to the artist’s work since she began addressing the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, as part of an interdisciplinary research project.

Since then, she has often combined drawings and collages into whole assemblages made from diverse materials. Behind this method is a questioning of the link between all things and living beings. She uses the Old English term ilk—which provided the title for this exhibition—to designate this sense of similarity or kinship.

The artist creates lines in every imaginable form: as traces drawn on paper; as words, embroidered on paper or felt with thread; as linear arrangements of materials in space; and as ghostly “digital” lines which briefly appear on a screen as animation and disappear immediately. All of these drawings render visible a process of experimentation that goes hand in hand with the flexibility of the artist’s viewpoint.

The exhibition was developed in close collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Basel and with the artist herself, and founded by Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The accompanying catalogue was published by Kehrer Verlag in Heidelberg.