Grandes Machines

As a lot of people I was shocked by the appearance of the Abu Ghraib pictures, the cheapness, the chilling rudeness, the pornographic character  of the cruelty let loose on defenseless prisoners in Iraque. What western values were the soldiers pretending to protect? And can they still be upheld after the disastrous wars that destabilized the region and continue to do so? There are three ‘Grandes Machines’- paintings, each with a different approach towards the source material.

In a later stage this material has become an integral part of the paintings by means of framed drawings which are shown in combination with the paintings. The drawing-series includes art-historical sources, like a fresco of ‘Hell’ by Luca Signorelli and a relief showing ‘the Damned’ by Lorenzo Maitani, both from the Duomo in Orvieto, ‘Liberty guiding the people’ by Delacroix, the photograph of Jean-Marc Bouju, World Press Photo of 2004, ‘Why Mister why?’ the book by Geert van Kesteren, clippings from newspapers with articles and photographs, downloads from the internet and also photographs which I took of myself posing and photographs I made during the actual work on the paintings.

About the title; the term ‘Grande machine’ was used in nineteenth century France to describe ambitious, controversial or stunning paintings on a very large size often using historical examples and stories in connection with actual happenings.


Grande Machine #1, 220 x 310 cm, acrylic and oilpaint on linnen. Grande Machine #2, 220 x 310 cm, acrylic and oilpaint on linnen. Grande Machine #3, 260 x 325 cm, acrylic and oil paint on linnen and 13 framed drawings in different sizes. All paintings are from 2004. In 2017 I added the drawn ‘proces’ to G.M. #3 for a presentation in Haus der Kunst, Munich, organized by Alex de Vries.