Jan van der Ploeg

27th May – 17th July 2016

Events: See Events for the event and education programme

The trailer of the exhibitions of Christiane Löhr, Jonathan Monk and Jan van der Ploeg you find here.


On the works of Jan van der Ploeg

Jan van der Ploeg is accustomed to working large scale. The artist, born in 1959 in Amsterdam where he still works, has for many years been one of the best-known artists in the field of wall-drawing and painting. His works can be experienced from Australia and Japan to Europe and the USA, some permanent works, some temporary pieces. For his first institutional appearance in Switzerland he has developed two new bodies of work which take up several hundred square metres of the Kunsthaus ground level.

On entering the Kunsthaus the visitor is immediately met by a form, which accompanies them on their route through the spaces of the ground floor. The form is sometimes halved, sometimes entire, and Jan van der Ploeg describes it as ‘grip’; depending on its positioning and execution it is reminiscent of an opening like a handle that you might find on a cardboard box. But the form also affords the eye a pause, activating parts of the space that otherwise do not impose them-selves on the eye. It has a lot to do with the deep black acrylic colour selected and the perfection of its realisation that the forms painted on the wall appear like large holes within the sequence of walls, underlining the sculptural aspects already present in the existing Kunsthaus architecture of the staircase and the various spaces that lead from it.

Above all it is about the effect of form and colour within an existing building fabric, the artist de-scribes. How the placement of these can change and simultaneously activate the appreciation and experience of existing architecture can be seen right now with Wall Painting 423 at the Kunsthaus, in which van der Ploeg settles exclusively on black tonal values and white absences. With the focus on the large wall that stands in the back area of the Kunsthaus on which – as if a kind of large painting – the chosen forms unite as one, the whole weighting of the space seems to shift for the viewer walking through.

In the Kunsthaus Baselland’s long annex, which measures more than 30 metres, there are, on the other hand, 18 colours, some fluorescent, which seem to break the tunnel-like structure of the space with bright, vertical channels. It is the very proximity of colour values, some chosen by the artist, some he mixed himself, that brings about the astonishing effect within the Kunsthaus’s spaces, one which is already visible from outside and which changes the whole effect of the space’s structure. Walking slowly along the bands of colour and considering their effect gives the impression of the wall as a shimmering membrane.

As different as these two large work complexes at the Kunsthaus Baselland are, they both show the great potential of Jan van der Ploeg’s work: to generate a dynamic dialogue with a given situation and to make transitions between wall drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture be-come fluid.



Short biography


1980–1982 Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)

1982–1983 Croydon College of Art, London (UK)

1983–1985 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (NL)


Most recent solo exhibitions (a selection):

2016: Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel; Taubert Contemporary, Berlin (D); 2015: Forever More, Gerhard Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam (NL); A couch to match the painting (with Henk Stallinga), Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam (NL); Lyrics (with Riette Wanders), Boeske & Hofland, Leipzig (D); GRIP Land art project, NP3, Groningen (NL); GRIP Land art project, Atelier aan de Middendijk, Groningen (NL); Warriors (with Jeena Shin and Selina Foote), Two Rooms, Auckland (NZ); Jan van der Ploeg, Taubert Contemporary, Berlin (D); 2014: Jan van der Ploeg, Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney (AUS); Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington (NZ); Jan van der Ploeg, Giacomo Guidi Gallery, Rome (I); MW, Raygun Projects, Toowoomba (AUS); MOTI HOTEL II: Jan van der Ploeg, MOTI, Den Bosch (NL); WEINER WALL, Tetterode, Amsterdam (NL); Jan van der Ploeg, De Witte Arena – Amsterdam (NL); 2013: We Like Art Walls, Object Rotterdam 2013, NAI – Rotterdam (NL); Androgynous Mind (with Riette Wanders), The Classroom Gallery, Nottingham (UK); Brendan Fowler Wall, Shane Campbell Gallery, Oakpark (USA); MWMW, Gerhard Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam (NL); PINK MOON, NASA, Amsterdam (NL); SUPER PLUS, Klaus Benden, Köln (D); Jan van der Ploeg, SNAP, Lyon (F); MWMW, Taubert Gallery, Berlin (D); WALLPAINTING No. 370, Schünck, Heerlen (NL); 2012: Wim van Krimpen, Amsterdam (NL) (with Babs Haenen); Human After All (with Bob Waardenburg), Kers gallery, Amsterdam (NL); Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington (NZ); Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (NZ); 2011: Ruth Leuchter, Düsseldorf (D); All Systems Go!, Introducing, Galerie West, Den Haag (NL)

Jan van der Ploeg, Artist`s studio 2016.

Jan van der Ploeg. Photo: zVg