Willem Jacobus de Haan - Wim de Haan
1913, Amsterdam - 1967, Amsterdam
The artistic oeuvre of the Amsterdam born artist Wim de Haan can be understood as an exercise of the chaos of a lived time through which the artistic medium gained a capacity to reflect the inner depths of one’s being. Absorbed by the way our perception of present moments is bent by the past, de Haan’s work inherently contemplates the meaning which is produced by disorder and how the meaning we bestow onto experienced disorder changes the way we connect with past encounters.
Wim de Haan's relatedness to the chaos begins with his experiences in Indonesia where he was sent to in 1937 by the company that he worked for at the time. More precisely, it is the period between 1942 until 1946, during which he was a Japanese prisoner of war and worked on the Burma Railway. Returning to the Netherlands he wrote his thesis 'Freedom in captivity’ and devoted himself to philosophy, psychology and poetry writing. In 1953 he decided to fully focus on visual arts through which he meditates on the lived time.
Wim de Haan developed as a self-thought artist, so he studied the works of other artists and experimented with various mediums, largely focusing on line drawings, painting, and material applications and assemblage techniques. Seeking for his very own visual language he inclines on the sensibility for materials and pure lines to evoke a feeling and to ground the experience of the viewer. Contemplating on his inclination to feeling and refusal to reason, his works uncover introspective and performative studies of intuitive applications of matter onto matter. Working with the property of soft objects, such as ink and paper, pushing thick layers of paint through plain-woven hemp and assembling objects from found materials the work, de Haan is emphasising on the meaning of materials as an entrance point to grasp the meaning of his work.
His works uncover introspective and performative studies of intuitive
applications of matter onto matter
In 1958 at the gallery Galerie ‘t Venster in Rotterdam for the first time Wim de Haan presents his work as a solo show and from the 60’s onwards he regularly showed in London as well as in Cambridge, Lyon, and Frankfurt. During that period he joined the artist groups ‘Europa’ and Oekwa with whom he exhibited in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Wim de Haan dies in 1967 in Amsterdam. In that year a memorial exhibition is held in London at the Grosvenor Gallery and about a decade later a big retrospective exhibition of his works is opened in 1975 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
View a selection of the works of Wim de Haan