Project 'Regarding Sebald' - Progress and changes

Spring Notes, May 2021

The first solo-exhibition based on 5 years of work on the project 'Regarding Sebald' opened at the beginning of March and closed on April 18th.

Exceptionally well-hung in the outstanding 'Artspace KuuB' in Utrecht, the exhibition inevitibly suffered from the current corona restrictions. Interested followers of my work were required to make an appointment for one of the 3 days per week that the show was open.
The virtual tour, however, once again produced by Arie de Ruiter, gives an excellent impression of the exhibition.

Overflowing with ideas for what will most likely be my last year of work on “Regarding Sebald”, I look forward to producing the third and last leporello in the autumn of 2021 based on themes from Sebald’s last novel ‘Austerlitz’. This final graphic work of the series of 3 will be distinctly different to the former 2 leporelli, analagous to the author’s work.

You will be informed! I sincerely trust that you will follow my progress as always.

Februari 2021

Loochening van de tijd - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Een uitwas van onze onwetendheid - Vanwege Sebald, 2021 Bij Bala in Wales - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Der Fuehrer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Het beeld van een door een wandelaar doorkruiste, al bijna in vergetelheid verzonken landschap - Vanwege Sebald, 2020-21

A large selection of paintings and drawings of my "Regarding Sebald" project will be on display at the large solo-exposition at Kunstruimte KuuB, Pieterstraat 3, Utrecht.  The exposition is from March 5 - April 18, 2021.
Covid 19 rules will be strictly observed. .

January 2021

Leporello II - Vanwege Sebald, 2021 Leporello II - Vanwege Sebald, 2021

In times like these everything is different and nothing happens as was planned, including the preparation for and completion of the second leporello Regarding Sebald  but in July 2020, the 8 images were completed in the quiet of Drenthe.

After the first leporello, which was based on text fragments from Sebald’s poetry, this second leporello is based on quotations from Sebald’s prose – from The Rings of Saturn , Vertigo , The Emigrants  and Campo Santo . (The third and last leporello will have Sebald’s last work Austerlitz  as theme.)

Now, after some further delay, the work is done. Meanwhile, these quiet times were ideal for my continuing work in my studio on the “Regarding Sebald” project”.

The leporello was produced by Ruijgrok Piézografie at Amsterdam, 2020. Dimensions of the prints are 14,8 x 21 cm. Total unfolded length is 421 cm. Paper is 215 grs. Innova IFA214. Print originals were made in Chines ink and aquarel. Text typeset in Garamond. The edition is 35 + 5 h.c.
The Mondriaanfonds supported this publication.

Leporello II kost 145 euro, excl. 3.85 euro verzendkosten. U kunt deze leporello bestellen via mijn e-mail adres: . Ook van Leporello I zijn nog enkele exemplaren voorradig.

September 2020

Of zweeft het lichaam naar het land dat men alleen blootsvoets mag betreden? - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 De stad die geboren is uit angst voor de eindeloze ruimte - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Swinburn over Kublai Kahn - Vanwege Sebald, 2020

Since my spring message I have produced quite a number of paintings , thanks to life coming almost to a standstill due to Corona. Photographs of my new work will be on view shortly.

Instead of travelling to Callosa in Spain to work on my second leporello, we ended up in a cottage in Drenthe Province. There I worked on the draft of the leporello consisting of 8 pages based on texts from Sebald’s prose, which will be printed either at the end of this year or early next year. If possible, the third and last leporello based on “Austerlitz” Sebald’s last work, will be printed simultaneously.

During the summer I painted almost exclusively and plans for drawings and watercolours were moved forward to the coming autumn.

In the meantime there is more clarity as to future exhibitions.

* One or two paintings from the Sebald series will be presented in a group exhibition - “Metamorfose” – at the KCB (Art Centre Bergen) in Museum Kranenburgh, Bergen, from 8th November till 3rd January 2021.

* In KUUB, a wonderful exhibition space in Utrecht, a large collection of the work from the ‘Regarding Sebald’ series, including paintings, drawings and watercolours, will be exhibited from February 28th till March 11th 2021.

* Shortly after, from April 19th till April 23rd 2021, work on paper and perhaps some paintings, will be on show in ArtSpace the small gallery in Arti et Amicitiae on the Rokin in Amsterdam.

The date of the exhibition in Museum Belvédère in Heerenveen has not yet been determined.

And then – in the meantime I continue to read and re-read Sebald’s work as it offers me such an enormous stream of thought, so many exciting images, so unique, powerful and so wide-ranging that there seems to be neverending as far as I’m concerned. This project is anything but complete.

A Spring Message 2020

Het ontwaken - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Sebald onderweg - Vanwege Sebald, 2020 Dr. K in Verona - Vanwege Sebald, 2020

May has come around once again but under rather different circumstances and are the reason for the cancellation of the planned ‘house exhibition’ as mentioned in the former Sebald message.
Whilst many are experiencing adversity I can’t complain and my work on the “Regarding Sebald“ project continues mainly undisturbed.
Images of 3 recent paintings are included, but this time it was not Arie de Ruiter who took the photographs. Without his professionality but with his advice it was Joanne who made the photos. The month in Callosa (Spain) as artist in residence from the end of August had to be cancelled as well. I had planned to do preliminary work for two new leporelli there. but this will now be done in a cottage in Drenthe.

Regarding coming exhibitions, as you know from my last ‘letter’ of September 2019, in 2022 an exhibition will take place in Museum Belvedere, Heerenveen and recently I received an invitation from Artspace KUUB in Utrecht, for an exhibition in the spring of 20121. More information follows.

In October of this year a smaller exhibition of work on paper is planned in Art Space , in Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. It is yet to be seen if this will take place considering the present circumstances but I have hope.

In the meantime my work – drawing and painting in the framework of “Regarding Sebald” continues. Sebald’s work, his approach to the (often manifest) precariousness, in the love for what is and was, is the motor for what has occupied me for years and for all my future work.

September 2019

Over het ontwaken - Vanwege Sebald, 2019 Grote wolk boven Milaan - Vanwege Sebald, 2019 Greifenstein - Vanwege Sebald, 2019 Dr K bij Desenzano - Vanwege Sebald, 2019

Since June, instead of starting on a series of drawings and watercolours, I kept on painting; the result can now be seen on my website.

A visit to Han Steenbruggen, director of Museum Belvedère, Heerenveen, in August, led to the prospect of an exhibition of my Sebald-project in 2022. Until then I will only take part in group exhibitions such as “At first sight” in Museum Kranenburgh in Bergen, North Holland and perhaps organize a small in-house show sometime in spring.

As far as the graphic aspect of the Sebald-project goes – after the presentation of the first leporello in April ‘19 and the positive reactions, I intend to produce two more leporello’s in the coming years. The first was based on Sebald’s poetry, the second will focus on his prose, except that from “Austerlitz” as this will be the subject of the third leporello.

Finally, the variety in approach has been commented on, on the one hand almost illustrative, on the other as if the images have ‘flown away’ out of Sebald’s work. For me this difference in approach is inevitable. I feel more independent than ever, possibly due to my age, in the interpretation of the images Sebald offers me!

Summer 2019

Gedachten stromen als water over een stuw - Vanwege Sebald, 2019 Adoratie van het Veronese groen - Vanwege Sebald, 2019 Il re Ludovico II met zeer kleine dame - Vanwege Sebald, 2018

W.G. Sebald based his book “The Rings of Saturn” for a large part on long walks made along the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk in Great Britain. In September 2018 Joanne and I followed in his footsteps and visited some of the towns, shingle beaches and other places where he noted down his unique observations. I experienced these walks as an inspiring confrontation which resulted in positive impulses for my work.

Since my last ‘report’ I worked on steadily on the ‘After Sebald’ project of which the end is by no means in sight. After the exhibition “Gold under the Ice” in the summer of 2018, a previous plan for which the preparations lay waiting, was there to be picked up. The time had come to work out these plans for the first graphic production of Sebald’s work. Interest for his prosa has been obvious worldwide but , according to me, there has not been enough attention for his poetry. And that was what I now wanted to focus on.

Friend Arie de Ruiter suggested making a leporello and I gladly accepted his advice. From the many small sketches a definitve choice was made and at the end of 2018 the final design was ready to be carried out in a combination of watercolour with Chinese ink, using pen as well as brush. Bernard Ruigrok of Ruigrok-Piëzografie was willing and able to print the leporello on one stretch of paper, which is not easy, at a length of 421 centimeters. After the proofs had been finalized the paper was folded in 8 parts and encased in a sturdy cardboard cover which measures 14,8 x 21 cm.

Vanwege Sebald, leporello, 2019

The presentation took place in the Tuinzaal of the Goethe Instituut in Amsterdam on the 25th April 2019. The work process and the positive reactions have persuaded me to produce a small series of in total 3 leporellos in the coming years. In February I visited the Deutsches Literatuur Archiv in Marbach am Neckar where Sebald’s legacy is to be found.

It is now June and I am looking forward working on new drawings and watercolours, all on the basis of work by W.G. Sebald.

Benadering van aziatische vulkanen II - Vanwege Sebald, 2018 Het onder de kiel naar de diepte verbannen donker - Vanwege Sebald, 2018 Verplaatsing van de nacht over de wereld - Vanwege Sebald, 2018

Autumn 2018

A representative selection of my work on the Regarding Sebald project went on display for the first time during the group exhibition “Gold under Ice” at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam, from July 28 juli until August 25, 2018.

Regarding Sebald - July 12, 2018

The project Regarding Sebald progresses with no inkling of when, where and how it will come to a conclusion.

Several more paintings, drawings and watercolours have been finished within the project's context. Some of them are shown below and you will find the full overview under the sub-menu Works of this site: Paintings (from 2000) and Drawings and watercolours (from 2000).

Benaderingen van tropische vulkanen - Vanwege Sebald, 2018 Een herinnerde steen, een verplaatste berg - Vanwege Sebald, 2018 De zuigkracht van de leegte - Vanwege Sebald, 2017 Grand hotel Rockes Noire - Vanwege sebald, 2017 Het terugwijkend bos - Vanwege Sebald, 2017 Zoals een rog zweeft in de diepte - Vanwege Sebald, 2017

Due to my choice of subjects from Sebald’s work and my interpretations the results are once more diverse.

Let me try to explain this in some detail:

In Sebald’s work one encounters a great diversity in the ways in which he describes his observations and deliberations: accurate descriptions of walks through nature, villages or towns,or he loses himself in surprising comparisons or memories.

A quote from “The rings of Saturn” :

"There are indeed moments, as one passes through the rooms open to the public at Somerleyton, when one is not quite sure whether one is in a country house in Suffolk or some kind of no-man’s-land, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean or in the heart of the dark continent. Nor can one readily say which decade or century it is, for many ages are superimposed here and coexist.” (transl. Michael Hulse)

Are these ponderings on one single experience that which fascinate me? Certainly, more and more I feel the necessity for a form of unambiguousness in my work. In choice of subject as well as in the working out I am no longer bound to a pre-determined method. And where Sebald, in one observation allows time and place as it were to tumble together, I feel a warm feeling of affinity. As the way/the path, in taoism, is life itself, without determining the destination. (So succinctly and aptly described by René Ransdorp: “The way comes into being by taking it.”)

In en voorbij Bremerhaven - Vanwege Sebald, 2018 However, the abovementioned is not the only factor in Sebald’s work which induces me to work. For instance, in the poem “In the wakeful night...” (from “Across the land and the water”) an image is sketched of a man’s somewhat scared awakening in a hotel in Bremerhaven after which his thoughts as it were, rise and whirl away following the River Weser, while images from present and past appear and disappear. In this case the only option for me was to make a painting that attemps to literally follow the images and the river. The elongated, narrow work is titled “In and past Bremerhaven” and seems, more than other work based on Sebald’s writings, more illustrative. This in comparison to work which is based on only one observation, such as, for example, “ The pull of the void” (2016).


2017 - Regarding Sebald

Op de grens van ..., 2017 Loochening van de tijd, 2017 Hemelsbreed 2000km ver maar van waar - Vanwege Sebald, 2017

December 2016 - Regarding Sebald

The Rings of Saturn: An English pelgrimage

De zuigkracht van de leegte, aquarel 2016 De loochening van de tijd, aquarel 2016 Flaubert en het zand, aquarel 2016 Verplaatsing van de nacht over de wereld, aquarel 2016 Op het strand bij Lowestoft, aquarel 2016

November 2016 - Regarding Sebald

The Rings of Saturn: An English pelgrimage

Janine Dakyns' Flaubert, 2016 Zuigkracht van de leegte, 2016 In Lowestoft, 2016

Regarding Sebald - Autumn 2016

The writer W.G. Sebald came into my life in about 2000. His work immediately gripped me and, after having read all his books, I was completely fascinated. Rereading, I felt the urge to start working with what I had assimilated.

Years ago, in the seventies and eighties, I had felt equally compelled after reading Franz Kafka and Witold Gombrowicz, resulting in many graphic works, drawings and paintings. I also produced a bibliophile folder of text fragments based on poetry by Wallace Stevens. These writers had a significant influence on my way of thinking and working.

Subsequently, many years followed in which my inspiration came mainly from landscapes observed in countries through which I travelled - Australia, Mongolia, China - but also from Zeeuws Vlaanderen in the South of The Netherlands, where I had a small studio until 2008.

Now, in 2016, literature once more motivates me. The work by the German writer W.G. Sebald (1944-2001) incorporates so much to stimulate me. His observations, at times during short or long walks, often evoke associations referring to history and to climatological, geological, historical and personal conditions, and make the use of them inevitable.

It is obvious! For those of you who are acquainted with my work - once again I feel a strong affinity with a writer and plan to spend the coming time working in various techniques under the title Regarding Sebald. You will not expect literal illustrations; Sebald offers me points of departure and impulses but the approach to my work will not change. During my travelling years, the landscapes I observed initiated my work, now Sebald's writings have the same purpose. I will travel as it were through that which he has written and there will find my inspiration.

Once again I hope that you will follow me on this new adventure.

Hans Landsaat, Autumn 2016