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Current Exhibition

En Route
Babs Haenen Solo Exhibition


Clay is an extraordinary material. It fixes the memory of its malleability. Your eye tells you it is soft, while your hand tells you it is hard.

The Turbulent Vessels I am making, are made from a patchwork of porcelain, composed of gently undulating surfaces reminiscent of draped cloth. Two of the pieces in this show Soleil Levant and Soleil Couchant refer to the Dutch landscape. To the light at the sea in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where I made pictures.Garth Clark, my gallery owner in New York till 2005 , wrote that they are Interior Dances , the dynamic exchange between outside and inside, rythm and pattern.

The three pieces Feng Jing , Shan Shui Hua and Luminescence have a kind of cellular structure of tiny hollow compartments, varying from one another in size. There is a movement in the cells. They refer to the structure we are all familiar with, inside of a bone or fruit. There is also a connection with architecture, for example to New York- the Woolworth building and the architect Frank Gehry. The piece Feng Jing is rising from darker tones to light, moving like a body. Shan Shui Hua is a table piece. You are drawn from the outside to the inside, which refers to landscape and abstract painting. In the past they were placed in the middle of the table during a diner. To got the conversation on the way.The piece Luminescence is a tribute to the Dutch artist Jan Schoonhoven.

I developed a technique whereby I colour porcelain with pigments and roll them into thin sheets, which I subsequently cut and join together in a variety of patterns. The work is built up by hand and each piece is fired several times. The first glaze firing determing the basic colours of the pigments. In subsequent firings I am able to manipulate the colours. I thereby create painterly effects with graduations in colours. Conjuring with layers of glaze, I later increase the transparency or change the surface to opaque.

Beside these Art works, the show will integrate my Flow collection, developed in Jingdezhen, China, together with Wang Guanlin , my Chinese assistent, since 2013.The collection is inspired by the impressive waterfalls in China and the Dutch seashore.Water is a closely linked to movement, which is one of the key motives of my work.Each piece in Flow has its own identity, but together they form a closely related ‘Family of Vessels’ including cups, beakers, bowls – sensual utensils, longing to be touched.The collection is completed by two vases , one of them inspired by the Chinese Ming tradition. In this series I created a new casting technique in which colour, drawing and structure effect each other. Basic shapes are presented in lively sculptural relief, covered with floating, scintillating colours and patterns. Numerous combinations of black, blue and orange are organically integrated, reminescent of Far Eastern calligraphy and the abstract expressionist paintings of Jackson Pollack.

Babs Haenen, Amsterdam 2017.

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Article Highlight

Red Walls & White Snow
on the lacquer painting of Bai Xiao Hua—The Forbidden City and Snow series

At the 10th National Juried Art Exhibition awards ceremony in October 2004, I saw a lacquer piece of the Forbidden City. The painting was a section of the Wu Men gate tower. The depth of the building was flattened and the two-dimensional, geometric divisions of horizontal and vertical lines, emphasized. Even though the painting didn’t depict the grandeur of the palace, the solemnity of the Imperial Garden was nonetheless impressive. The red walls and white snow made everything look to be in perfect harmony, which greatly enhanced the beauty of the snow scene. That piece was the winner of the Silver Prize and was painted by a young lacquer artist named Bai Xiao Hua. It was called, “Wu Men Snow”.
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About twocities

Within every city, two cities simultaneously emerge. The first represents all that is good and right and desirable; the second city everything that we long to see changed.

The twocities art gallery seeks to help build the first city, through art and events that champion beauty, commitment, thoughtfulness and community. As one of the few galleries in China specializing in contemporary handcrafted art, twocities represents Chinese artists pioneering in modern glass, ceramics, jewelry and lacquer. We are dedicated to providing a platform for contemporary craft artists to engage in international dialogue.

Other events include lectures, film showings and concerts showcasing musicians from a variety of musical genres. In keeping with twocities gallery’s desire to build “the good city ” we work to promote events which highlight beauty, thoughtfulness and innovation in artistic expression and in the city we inhabit.
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