Monday, September 19th, 2011
"Corpus" Exhibition by Ruudt Peters at Galerie Rob Koudijs
Between body and spirit.
Flat, amorphous shapes in subdued shades of dark-grey. Ruudt Peters’ new jewellery appears to be austere and abstract until the eye is drawn to the occasional sharp edges, or intentionally modelled surfaces. Peters is always on a quest for spirituality in his work as his earlier work has demonstrated. One line of approach he did not consider in the past was Christianity. Was it too predictable a choice, or was it too close for comfort in the artist’s view?
From the abundance of motifs Peters chose what lies at the heart of Christianity: Jesus as the saviour of mankind. For a thousand years artists have searched for an apt representation of the crucifixion: from the simplicity of Romanesque depictions to an increasingly explicit image of a virtually naked man. The body of the Christ figure becomes increasingly pronounced: muscles starting to develop, the abdomen curving, the loincloth losing its innocence. The religious symbol takes on increasingly complex meanings.
It was a challenge for Ruudt Peters to add his own interpretation to this iconography. In a study in which the crucifix was initially sawn into bits and pieces and then joined together again instinctively, the artist was not only guided by religious connotations. Other aspects present themselves: the meeting of bodies, expressiveness of touch, intimacy. In the final product Peters stresses abstract, veiled shapes on the front and keeps the recognizable parts for the sides and back.
Western society is becoming increasingly secularized, and Ruudt Peters CORPUS jewellery hits the spectator like a bolt out of the blue. At its first presentation at the COLLECT art fair the reactions were unusually outspoken. Curiosity, amazement and appreciation competed for first place, often combined with wariness about the wearability of the pieces. For should you judge this work on the basis of the artistic stament made by the maker, or as a personal testimony? Is it about body or spirit? In his work the artist extends a hand to the spectators, ultimately it is their responsibility to provide an interpretation and decide on the value of a work of art.