The intriguing work of Laurien Renckens

The works by Laurien Renckens have multiple characteristics. They are focused and playful at the same time. They radiate energy; on the other hand, however, the works possess a somewhat timid feature, they are subdued. The work contains a sense of freedom, within a tight framework. Looking at Renckens’ paintings is like scrutinizing a gemstone. Every time you examine the work from another angle, a new facet reveals itself; it exposes itself in a different way. Every facet and angle display a different kind of sparkle.  

Renckens’ choice for an empathetic and personal approach explains the contemplative element and the connotation of significance within her work.  Observing the works carefully, they genuinely seem to offer something to the spectator. By looking at the work, the spectator may receive an energy boost; comparable to a spiritual experience, the works truly sparkle.   

Renckens’ work is firmly rooted in the twenty-twenties. The colours and shapes show areas of overlap with contemporary graphic design and visual culture. However, the works are also autonomous and possess an authentic inner strength. Even though some of the works may be small, their impact is great and their effect on the space surrounding the work is intense.  

In a series of recent paintings, there is a strong dichotomy between the constructing triangles and the space surrounding the painting. Yet, only the combination of the two constitute the image; it seems that one element within the painting cannot exist without the other. It looks as though the triangular shape, composed of thicker and thinner lines, arises from the rest of the surface. Renckens is very meticulous and every single work is a summary of multiple formal choices. Together, the repetitive shapes constitute visual mantras; they encourage the spectator to ally himself uninterruptedly with it. 

There is also an overlap with the work of Japanese artist Yui Yaegashi. Both Renckens and Yaegashi have a very meticulous way of creating. In addition, the work of Yaegashi, as well as that of Renckens, requires a high degree of concentration from the spectator. It is only then that the work of both artists unfolds a powerful and at the same time delicate world. Renckens’ major role model is the world-renowned Agnes Martin. In accordance with what Martin says about beauty, Renckens wants to create beautiful images since the world already has its fair share of less appealing things.  

Melchior Jaspers

Art historian, curator & art advisor of the Chief Government Architect