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“I aim to create images that invite meaningful encounters of conflicting issues, embracing chance as a vital element in my artistic process.”

The Artistic Fusion: Form and Spontaneity

René Korten is an artist from Horn, a quaint hamlet nestled in the southern region of The Netherlands. His formative years in this idyllic setting instilled in him an enduring affection for the natural world, a theme that subtly resonates throughout his body of work in contemporary times. In the quiet sanctuary of his room, he found joy in rendering imaginative realms using nothing more than rudimentary drawing tools, an activity that yielded profound joy. This engrossing, transformative process of creation sparked an unquenchable passion within him.

In pursuit of his artistic ambitions, Korten ventured to the distinguished art academy in Tilburg. It was during this intellectual odyssey that the expansive universe of art unfurled before him, nourishing his budding understanding of the field. Despite the initial struggle to carve out a unique artistic identity in the shadows of the influential masters he revered, Korten persisted. Over time, bolstered by burgeoning self-assurance, he painted his inaugural masterpiece, delineating his distinct path in the vast landscape of artistry.

In the course of René Korten’s artistic education, he diligently sharpened his abilities in drawing and painting from nature. However, he discerned that his authentic artistic pursuit was situated elsewhere. Korten’s journey evolved to focus on liberating the materiality of paint, yet he remained dedicated to maintaining a formal methodology.

René Korten: From Shadows to Mastery

Korten’s work coalesces the formal with the organic, the deliberately constructed with the spontaneous. This fusion mirrors the dichotomy between culture and nature. Rather than pursuing self-expression, Korten’s objective is the formation of images that encompass the potential for association, prompting profound intersections of seemingly disparate issues. He warmly incorporates serendipity as a crucial component in his artistic process.

When Korten engages with paint on the canvas, he mostly prefers the canvas to lie horizontally, utilizing tables or the floor of his workspace. The tranquility of his studio provides him with unparalleled concentration, allowing for an environment devoid of digital distractions. Beyond his studio work, Korten contributes to a multitude of art-related endeavors.

Among these pursuits is his co-founding and curatorship of PARK-Platform for Visual Arts, an artist initiative. He also maintains an insightful blog entitled Nothing But Good, and provides instruction at the Fontys Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg. These multifaceted activities provide nourishment to his professional practice and animate his sphere through dynamic interactions with colleagues and students. His perpetual engagement in these ventures allows Korten’s artistic world to remain in constant motion.

A World in Motion: Art Beyond the Canvas

René Korten’s profound affinity for the art of painting extends to his deep appreciation for a diverse array of artists from varied periods, each of whom have touched him in their unique ways. Fra Angelico’s ethereal frescoes and Helen Frankenthaler’s evocative paintings resonate with him on a visceral level, igniting profound emotional responses. The unrestrained energy and audacious freedom found in Julian Schnabel’s work serve as a bold source of inspiration, as does Philip Guston’s deeply personal artistic language, particularly his masterful interplay of color and absence of color.

Furthermore, Korten harbors significant admiration for an eclectic range of other artists. Among these luminaries are Johannes Vermeer, known for his meticulous compositions, Willem de Kooning, with his aggressive yet lyrical abstract expressionism, and Jasper Johns, celebrated for his ambiguous symbolism. He also draws inspiration from Per Kirkeby’s juxtaposition of nature and architecture, Bruce Nauman’s challenging installations, and Marcel Berlanger’s exploration of the dynamics between image and material.

One work of art that has particular resonance for Korten is his own creation, “Divide (Crown).” This piece belongs to a broader series aptly named “Divide,” which Korten commenced during his residency at the Vincent van GoghHuis museum. During this period, he found himself particularly moved by Vincent van Gogh’s application of branches and roots in his celebrated painting ‘Boomwortels.’ Rather than resorting to replication, Korten drew from this inspiration to imbue his own originality into the “Divide” series. He achieves this by bisecting each painting, then employing color and monochrome to both connect and isolate the resulting halves. The outcome is a series of self-coherent artworks that exude a potent emotional aura, eloquently expressing Korten’s own artistic voice.

René Korten: Resonating Artistic Voices

In the course of an innovative collaboration with a professional associate, René Korten made a profound discovery: his artistic temperament aligns perfectly with the characteristics of acrylic paint. The medium’s immediacy, coupled with its potent diluting capacity, emboldens Korten’s decisive approach to his art.

Korten’s future aspirations extend towards creating a fresh series of grander scale paintings, an endeavour he views as a formidable yet invigorating mental and physical challenge. Beyond the canvas, Korten is also looking forward to the release of a forthcoming book in 2024. This book will serve as a retrospective, highlighting a selection of his paintings and works on paper from the last decade, with a particular emphasis on the series which he holds in preference.

This publication will not only spotlight Korten’s art but will also feature essays by invited writers and art critics. They will delve into various facets of Korten’s artistic practice, offering insights and analyses into his unique creative vision. This collaborative process of engaging with different voices in the art community underscores the recurrent theme of collaboration in Korten’s artistic journey.

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