Contempo: 35 years of contemporary art

Visitors of Contempo Gallery are greeted at the door not only by gallery owner Peter Koopmans, but also by a quote from artist Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986) affixed to the wall in the hallway: ‘Kunst ist wenn man trotzdem lacht.’ This quote is a variation on the famous statement by German writer Otto Julius Bierbaum (1865 – 1910): ‘Humor ist wenn man trotzdem lacht.’ ‘To indicate that art does not always have to be a serious matter, but that there is also room for humor,’ explains Koopmans.

Together with Mark Slegers, Koopmans owns the gallery located in the city center of Rotterdam, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. At the KunstRAI, they are showing work by Tjibbe Hooghiemstra, Jasper van den Ham, Paco Dalmau and Rien Jansen, among others. Rien Jansen’s still lifes combine classic and contemporary elements. Anyone who takes the time to look at his canvases, painted with homemade egg tempera, will wonder about the story behind the objects he depicts: an ice cream cone, a fork, a point of soft cheese, a milk jug. What is their mutual relationship? And why was such an unusual composition chosen? The works feel both familiar and strange, which is precisely why they capture your attention.

On the opposite side of the gallery, we find colorful and abstract works by Paco Dalmau. It is no secret that colors have the power to evoke certain emotions: green makes us think of nature, while red is the color of love. Dalmau plays with the psychological effects that colors have on us. By applying his materials layer by layer, he creates the suggestion of depth and movement.

Curious about the works of Jansen and Dalmau? Or about any of the other artists whose work Contempo Galerie is bringing to KunstRAI? Watch the interview with Koopmans below (Dutch).

Image on the left: Paco Dalmau, ‘Evolution 30-17,’ 2022, mixed media on canvas and panel, 30 x 30 x 2 cm.