Hans Landsaat (Gallery Josine Bokhoven, 4 April - 10 May 2005)
published in 'Kunstbeeld', April 2005

China - Brush drawings, 2004-05

For a long time now the landscape, a genre of painting that once grouped its practitioners in schools and movements, has been the domain of only a handful of specialists. Each one of them approaches the subject in a specific way and the results seldom show any similarity. Consequently, landscape-painting has won in diversity what it has lost in quantity.

Hans Landsaat's (1935) recently painted landscapes have been approached in essentially three different ways, depending on the techniques used. However, they are linked as stages in a continuing process.

Pencil drawings made in the field, combined with photos and notes, present us with a picture of the landscape as it first appeared to Landsaat with the emphasis on what in particular caught his eye. Most recently these were the mountains of central China, a region where Landsaat travelled to be astonished by the unknown. The sketches themselves printed this astonishment on his mind and this could be used as a reminder for what was still to come.

What followed, initially, were brush-drawings made during a sojourn in Australia. These were landscapes made from memory, images which had been formed in the mind. What interested Landsaat was the quintessential nature of the image as image; the original, selected and reduced to the elements, which from his observation and memory - but not objectively - were essentially the elements which caught his eye in the first place. A few strokes, splashes, long and short streaks; the strokes, streaks and splashes and other marks rise from the white of the paper and fall back, like fish which dared to jump from the surface of the sea. Landsaat's brush put down onto paper brushstrokes from gossamer-like to broad and heavy with all the variations possible in between.

On their own, these brush-strokes hardly allow recognition. But there is a coherence, and the diversity in form and expression within is sufficiently suggestive to give the observer an experience of a landscape. The brush-drawings are succeeded by paintings in which the remoteness from the original image is even greater; simultaneously other memories are admitted, others than those of the initial astonishment. Thus the ultimate product of the creative process owes as much to the subjective fact of the observation and the memory as to the objective actuality of the landscape.

Hans Sizoo