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Personal Structures: Johannes Girardoni and Nelleke Beltjens
by Peter Lodermeyer

Stylistic concepts always carry the danger of confining artworks too much. In exhibition reviews, the works of Johannes Girardoni and the sculptures of Nelleke Beltjens are regularly referred to as “Minimalist.” If, by Minimalism, you understand the use of simple, basic plastic forms and the application of structural features such as serialization, repetition, and symmetry, then there is good reason for this characterization. If, however, the concept is expanded to encompass semi-industrial types of production and treatment of materials, stripped of any trace of subjectivity and emotion, then the works of these artists are virtually the opposite of Minimalism. Neither Beltjens nor Girardoni is interested in a smooth, self-referential formalism. Their sculptures appeal not only to the sensory perception of the viewer, but also to feelings and fantasy. And, for both artists, their respective work, in which formal simplicity and subjective sensibility meet, is a place where personality can resonate—an instrument of self-discovery and self-constitution—in the artist as well as in the viewer.

 

Johannes Girardoni, Triptych—Cadmium Green Lt., 2003. Beeswax, pigment, and wood, 38.5 x 36 x 5 in. Courtesy Stephen Haller Gallery, NY.

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