Face to face with an installation or wall relief by Joris Kuipers you are about to enter a different dimension. One where the chaotic, random events of life have been captured and carefully rearranged to create an animated, lyrical object of beauty. Hand-drawn, laser-cut slices of imagination are assembled into jubilant abstract visions that effortlessly expand into the surrounding space. Constellations reminiscent of billowing clouds, minerals and flowers in bloom testify to the vitality of nature and our own capacity for joy.

From the first colorful impressions, Kuipers’ work unfolds into ever finer detail. The unique, vibrant surface of every individual element arrests the attention, makes you marvel at the subtle contrasts that accentuate the countless different hues in a bold but harmonious palette. Gold, fluorescent orange and burnt sienna, or infinite shades of pink, yellow, purple, orange and red. Gradients and organic patterns – cellular structures perhaps, molds, rusts, raindrops – seem to flow autonomously and freely through all the pieces, revealing a casual painterly command behind the spontaneous exuberance of color. Layer upon layer, Kuipers adds depth and reflection, guiding and enticing the eye.

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This doesn’t, however, amount to an untroubled utopia, no matter how bright and vivid the works may be. The recent wall reliefs, Floral Abstractions, also refer to decay, to a struggle for light, to proliferating thorny, prickly plants. Kuipers is not blind to the jagged edges, the vulnerabilities and transiency of our existence. He simply accepts the shadows, incorporating them in an esthetical habitat where the darker shades serve to bring out the highlights and blinding whites accentuate the rich tones behind them.

Within each work, the separate cut-out shapes are part of an ingenious spatial composition suggesting movement in every direction. Most dynamic of all are the large installations like Suspended Relief 004, that are drifting across the room, submerging the viewer in a dazzling flurry of forms that float up or down, swirl around and turn with unexpected swiftness. Just to avoid confusion: they are not actually moving, it is the energy and the rhythm Kuipers gives them, the broad, sweeping gestures made up of many minute decisions and meticulous deliberations over relative sizes, colors, angles and positions.

The amount of control that goes into making the reliefs and installations – the tedious process of testing, adjusting, detaching, replacing, touching up, refitting – is negated by the wonderful feeling of unpremeditated growth the works evoke. You can see Kuipers’ playfulness, his delight in discovery and a sense of wonder, and remain happily unaware of his efforts. The work itself has a tendency to dissolve into images and associations while it draws you in; it induces an experience of being closely connected to the world, even as you are temporarily oblivious to your actual surroundings.

His work has been exhibited at numerous art fairs, including Big Art No4 (2019), Object Rotterdam (2018 and 2019), KunstRAI (2018), Gent ART FAIR (2011) and Art Amsterdam (2009). He received commissions from Royal Caribbean Cruises (2019), Facebook (2016/19) and Vodafone (2011).

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Words by Nanne op ‘t Ende, 2019.

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