Jurriaan Molenaar


born in Amersfoort

Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht

Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

seit 1995
lives and works in Amsterdam (NL)


Mondriaan Foundation, Workcontribution proven talent/ Arbeitsbeitrag bewährtes Talent

"Wim Izaksprijs 1998", Hermen Molendijk-Foundation, Amersfoort


Solo exhibitions

Fermate, Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf

Périphérique, Lieu d’Art Contemporain Narbonne, Frankreich

Art Cologne (mit Jan Schoonhoven), Galerie Borzo
Lieu d’art contemporain (mit Koen Vermeule), Narbonne (F)

Holland Highway, Gasunie, Groningen (NL)

Jan Andriesse & Jurriaan Molenaar, Galerie Borzo, Amsterdam

Edition bei Mo-artgallery, Amsterdam (NL)

Match (duo met Ton Kraayeveld), galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag
KunstRAI, stand galerie Jan van Hoof, Amsterdam

Jim Harris & Jurriaan Molenaar, kunstruimte Kuub, Utrecht
Jurriaan Molenaar, Jan van Hoof galerie, ’s-Hertogenbosch
Deelnemer De nieuwe Rembrandt, Avro, 7 weken op Ned 2
Nieuw werk, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam

Alumni Rijksakademie (duo met Tim Ayres), Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam

Galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
Lessness, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam
Transit, ACB gallery, Boedapest

"Jurriaan Molenaar", KunstRai (stand Tanya Rumpff), Amsterdam

"Precisely that!" (mit Han Schuil), ACB galéria, Budapest

"Nightshift", galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem

"Ablakok", ACB galéria, Budapest

"Unisono in duplo", Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
"Logo Building" (mit Tobias Hauser), Galerie Fiebach & Minninger, Keulen

"Passag"e, galerie Fiebach & Minninger, Keulen
"Passage", galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem

"Unbuil"t, galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem

"40% Architecture" (mit Oskar de Kiefte), Inmo gallery, Los Angeles

"Holocene", galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem

"Odyssee 2000", Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

"Nomotions", Buro Empty, Amsterdam
"Flight 44", galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem

"Jurriaan Molenaar", LAK Galerie, Leiden

"De Tien Gebieden", galerie Art & Project, Slootdorp

Group exhibitions

Collectie Wilploo, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede (NL)

Het ABC van de Collectie, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (NL)
Van Gogh Mini’s, MOTI, Museum of the Image, Breda (NL)
Culture of Colors, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (catalog) (NL)

Art Rotterdam, Galerie Borzo(met Jan Andriesse en Herman de Vries) (NL)

Gedeelde Passie, Aanwinsten 2008-2013, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (NL)
We Like Art, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam
Art Rotterdam, stand Galerie Reuten (NL)

Binnen ruimtes, galerie Reuten, Amsterdam
Art Warehouse, stand Jan van Hoof, Rotterdam

Cool!, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
Art Amsterdam Noord, Amsterdam
De finalisten van De Nieuwe Rembrandt, galerie Metis, Amsterdam
Summer 2012, galerie Voss, Düsseldorf
Re: Rotterdam, Marian Cramer Projects

Artfair Köln, stand galerie Voss
Na Nul, galerie Borzo, Amsterdam
VoTH, Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch (cat.)
Zo zit dat, stoelencollectie stichting Zetel, CBK Emmen
Art Amsterdam, stand galerie Voss

Art Rotterdam, stand galerie Tanya Rumpff
25 jaar galerie Tanya Rumpff, laatste groepstentoonstelling
Vienna Art Fair, stand ACB gallery
Art Amsterdam, stand galerie Voss

"Huis Clos", Galerie Reuten, Amsterdam (NL)
"Outlook" (von 2001), Tweede Kamer, Den Haag
"Scherp gesneden/raak getypeerd", Tricot Winterswijk
"Intern & extern", Kunsthal 52, Den Helder

"Intern & extern", Kunsthal 52, Den Helder
"In stock-Uit stock", galerie Tanya Rumpff
"Tentoonstelling 1, scherp gesneden/raak getypeerd", Tricot Winterswijk

"On Memory" (curator Johan Deumens), galerie Tanya Rumpff
"Muze", film en muziek van Arnoud Noordegraaf/ Luuk Vierhout, Festival a/d Werf 2007, Utrecht en Frascati, Amsterdam
"Groei. Aanwinsten 2003-2007", Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

"Vrienden voor het leve"n, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
"Zetel", De Zonnehof, Amersfoort
"Zete"l, Glaspaleis, Heerlen

"4 Dutch Artist"s, ACB galéria, Budapest
"Tien jaar Wim Izaksprijs", Dordrechts Museum

"Ansichten & Ausblicke", Galerie Fiebach&Minninger, Keulen
"The Seven Year Itch", Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

"Iets wat zoveel kost, is alles waard", De Beyerd, Breda

"Schoon", W 139, Amsterdam
"De visite is er", Arti et Amitiae, Amsterdam
Inmo gallery, Los Angeles, USA

"Wim Izaksprijs 1998", Kunstgenootschap Diepenheim
"Collectie Altena-Boswinkel", Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

"De Bermuda Driehoek", W 139, Amsterdam
"Koninklijke Subsidie", Paleis op de Dam, Amsterdam

"Password: Worden", W 139, Amsterdam

"Emo Verkerk, Daan van Golden, Rob van Koningsbruggen,
Jurriaan Molenaar" , galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem
"Collectie OCÉ", Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht

"6 Kunstenaars, Prix NI", galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag
"Koninklijke Subsidie", Paleis op de Dam, Amsterdam

Current exhibition


When the eye explores the paint

Bare are the spaces Jurriaan Molenaar (1968) presents us with. Void of human presence. Even though the buildings, windows and doors are recognizable by everyone in the world, they never represent actual places. Molenaar tries to depict his subject as anonymously as possible. Hence the barely visible brushstrokes. His restrained use of color reinforces this as well. Only the concentration used to paint and the extreme precise construction of the space betray that more is hidden behind these neat empty spaces.
Since the nineties Molenaar has been painting architecture and spaces. As a child he believed one could think oneself right through spaces. It offered a sense of freedom. To make space visible you need walls, windows and doors. In other words, architecture. Raised in the city this has always held a fascination for him.
In his early years he ventured out into the world to discover new places (Russia, Indonesia, Israel, New York). Whilst being in big cities he invariably took the bus to distant suburbs. In these outskirts he endlessly photographed walls, windows and doors. Nowadays he mostly finds his spaces in the digital realm.
A real impetus for a new painting can be a photograph of window, a small area in a painting by Edward Hopper or an undefined interior shot on a real estate site. As long as that space just about reveals itself without providing too many specifics. According to Molenaar each viewer should be able to make his or her own projections.
Even though the images are bare and void, in the end Molenaar is mostly concerned with the complexity of that space. Both physically on the canvas as well as mentally inside the viewer's head. This complexity is accomplished by uniting the opposites: outside and inside, privacy and view, protection and constriction, emptiness and wealth, abstraction and figuration.

Colleague-painter Hans Broek presented in the mid-nineties vast landscapes around Los Angeles, while Carla Klein showed desolate waiting areas at airports and unending deserted highways. Ulf Puder, member of the Neue Leipziger Schule, started painting alienating architectural spaces. At this time Molenaar got recognition with rather abstract shapes, remotely resembling architecture or cityscapes. He applied them on canvas in thick pasty layers. In the course of the years his use of paint became more subtle and the representations gradually moved closer to reality, without turning into photorealism.
The search for the right balance between abstraction and figurativeness, calls to mind art historical images almost automatically. Vistas of Vermeer loom up in one's memory, much like the buildings of Giotto which seem oddly flat, because of the early use of perspective. Molenaar's painting of a small grey window (Absent, 2014) echos forms by Mondriaan and Malevich. With their personalized brushstrokes they broke through the perfection of their new and completely abstract imagery.
Equally in this small painting, traits of minimalists like Donald Judd are recognized. In their time it was a taboo to have a personal signature. They were indeed more concerned with the concept, less so with the execution. Molenaar draws elements from both these traditions. He constructs a representation with minimal visual information and yet everything is discernible and credible. At the same time his signature seems absent, but is in fact not.
By applying each layer of paint in a slightly different direction on the canvas, Molenaar creates a paint skin so smooth your eyes cannot focus on anything. They keep wandering. This lack of a handhold is intensified by the presence of more than one vanishing point in the image. The moment your intuition tells you something is amiss with the perspective, you automatically start searching for where it's off and what it could mean.

Crucial for Molenaar's paintings is their perfection. Both the perfection of the assembled space as well as the perfection of their execution. With mathematical precision he translates the space of the original photograph into a drawing to which the laws of perspective and mathematical formulas lay the groundwork. Layer upon layer he paints that constructed space in thin matt acrylic. Each area he tapes off carefully with extra thick tape made especially for him. The pace is one section per canvas per day. He works with very subtle chrominance and some parts even have a raised border due to the many layers.
Molenaar's perfection is subject to the anonymity of the image and the wealth of associations one can project onto his work. The longlasting concentration it takes for this signature-free signature, he acquired from Russian monks who, in a remote monastery, taught him how to paint icons. Analogue to icons, Molenaar reduced his imagery to the essence. On top of this he carefully observed their different use of perspective and the absence of shadows.

Molenaar shows us actual and simultaneously mysterious places with enigmatic light. Due to the absence of an unambiguous meaning and the lack of a handhold, essential life questions such as: 'Where am I' and 'What am I doing here?' arise. The sense of a lurking loneliness in these paintings is made bearable by the loving devotion encapsulated in the perfection. Molenaar's search for a handhold seems to implicate something about the last decades. The compartmentalized society already disintegrated some decennia ago and the period of ideological epic stories has elapsed. In the current ego-era we derive purpose and security from hard numbers and economic laws. A pseudo grip apparently, demonstrated by Molenaar's askew and twisted perspective.
A condition however to actually perceive these layers of meaning is to see Molenaar's works in real life. Reproductions on paper or monitor reduce his images to clean-cut-ruler-painted spaces. Only when one’s eye can explore the paint itself, one can detect the space behind it.

Text: Sandra Spijkerman