In 2011 Lenneke van der Goot made a drawing installation at Kunstvereniging Diepenheim that combined many of her skills. Her life-size wolves – well-drawn and partly cut out – were pinned to the wall like jigsaw pieces and in part extended into the room three-dimensionally. The paper shapes were lit with construction lamps, which created a fascinating play of light and darkness, but also of illusion and reality, of a profusion of shapes. But there was more, as she had also drawn animals on some of the walls and the apparent technical ease with which this was done was altogether convincing. The shapes, the shadows and the drawn elements made the work literally layered, but at the same time there seemed to be something going on in terms of content. You sensed all sorts of things were going on and a lot was being said, but you did not quite know how to articulate it.
You cannot prove anything with a description or an essay, but perhaps I could try to convince other people of the importance of Lenneke van der Goot's work by giving a personal account of my experiences. In doing so, I hopefully manage to identify the mysterious phenomenon of the quality of her work. However, there remains an aspect that appeals to your highest emotions, something that cannot be accounted for by reasoning. Because of this ambiguity her work is not merely asking questions, above all, it continues to enthral. In addition to this, she is always breaking new ground in an inventive manner, which may lead to reflection and wonderment. Just when you think you are getting to grips with the drawings, there is another series, which not only puts you on the wrong track, it also forces you to identify with what is going on and acquaint yourself with it all over again.
In articles about art you often find outflanking linguistic manoeuvres, based on metaphors and analogies, in order to enter a new, unknown mental space, as the South-African author and visual artist Breyten Breytenbach once stated. The way in which you 'experience' a text hopefully runs parallel to experiencing the works of Van der Goot.
Van der Goot's visual drawings are always clear and straightforward. She seems to show exactly what she wants to tell, she gives the spectator visual clues, but she does not reveal her enigmatic content straightaway. The narrative seems to be a fundamental aspect of the substance of her work. It is not as if they are finalised tales though, but what is shown gives you food for thought. About the insignificance of man, about our lonely state and losing our way in an illusory world that sometimes seems to be made up of enlarged pieces of scenery. At the same time, every drawing is a stage or a chessboard on which man is usually being moved as a pawn or an actor. Lenneke van der Goot is very inventive when it comes to developing environments, but you can never imagine the whole scene in the world as we know it.
Her experiments with materials, with enlargement and minimization of the protagonists, are playful, consistent and often alienating. In some of the works she uses either cut out or curled drawing paper, which makes the drawings even more reminiscent of theatrical scenes.
Artists never stop delving into their minds and often respond to 'dark' voices, they take risks, in order to find out if something works and they ask themselves: is this what I want? Is this the result of an artistic drawing process and, most importantly, is the quality good enough and thus original? The ultimate drawing that eventually expresses the hoped-for and desired sublimation of ideas and emotions? All of this found in the treasury chambers of the mind and the subconscious.
Erwin Mortier wrote that artists basically claim space in addition to time. This splendid presupposition implies that we should not instantly confine analyses and propositions. After all, many things happen on boundaries. Just like sound may be at the threshold of human hearing. Or an image may lie on the border region of our visual field. Like language wants to name the choir of images.
(this text appeared in the publication following the EposPress Drawings Prize)