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BIOGRAFY


Jan Willem van Swigchem, born in 1956, lives and works in Den Haag. As an artist he is autodidact. It’s in his nature to create. Since 1985 he works as a professional artist.

Several of his works are: Abstract landscapes and miniature paintings (5x5 cm). In the 1980’s he made line drawings in ink. These are the first works in which he divides the surface of the canvas in an abstract way. They form the preparatory training for his later paper reliefs and paper templates. In the 1990’s he made a series of mixed media, titled 'Mysterious Traces'. In fact they are travelogues in the form of painted vertical panels and a variety of used materials that he processed and transformed, like metal, glass, cotton, copper, ‘found objects’, carton and paper.

In the 90’s he also experimented with glass; monumental constructions, based on physical laws of pressure and counter-pressure. These are piles of flat glass-strips that keep themselves in an ingenious balance.From the mid-eighties up to now he works on paperreliëfs and paper templates; the main material in which the artist can express his ideas the best.

He is inspired by nature & natural forms, and focussed on ways of perception. The structure of all sorts of elements that we can perceive, form the basis of the way he divides the surface of his work. He plays with scales and proportions. For example, when walking on the beach and looking at an object like a shell, one can see the shell as a wonderful little tableau. But one can also take the object and look either inwards or outwards. One can imagine being tiny, standing on the shell and looking outwards to the big landscape around him. Or one can look at the shell itself as through a microscope and scan the construction of the surface.

Van Swigchem plays with the perception of perspective. He composes different elements of a typical form and plays with the rhythmic game of lines, always moving, when the spectator looks at it, thoroughly and from different sides. That and the knowledge that light makes us see, make the paperreliëfs intriguing works of art. Hidden layers reveal themselves and seem to appear by the changing light, changing also the  ‘outcome’ of the works, giving it new forms and new ‘life’ again and again.