Dineke Oosting's idyllic worlds
a three-dimensional work titled "Landschap" (Landscape), elements
from Italian landscape are taken as its basic assumption. The design is
inspired by landscapes with buildings from 15th century Italian historic
paintings. During her graduation at the Minerva academy in 1995, Oosting
presented a large round bin supported by a table; in it a stack of stones
surrounded by a hedge of plants and cactuses. The stone mountain was equipped
with a collection of colourful cardboard houses and towers. Lampposts
were included as a current-day addition. Here, Oosting sketches a miniature
depiction of a landscape that regularly figured in 15th century Italian
painting. The 15th century art of painting, and Dutch 16th century painting,
has a design of landscapes that now often fills us with endearment. Works
by Brueghel de Oudere, Jeroen Bosch, and Quinten Matsys show "miniature
worlds". We do not consider the construction of their art of painting
very developed; it provides associations with worlds we see in toy stores,
for instance. With all due respect, these art-historical works show very
schematic realities within our current reception. They are the realities
that strongly appeal to Oosting and which take her back to her first childhood
observations. Impressions received during childhood knit patterns in one's
observation throughout the rest of one's life. The earliest observations
are probing enough to make them of great value, yet they are related to
small worlds by definition. Naturally, toys are the best instruments to
obtain a hold of reality. By playing with attributes that mirror the big
world, we learn to control it. Through her work, Oosting allows us to,
once more, become acquainted with the small universes with which we grew
up; she stimulates our imagination and incites feelings of freedom. A
work which I think symbolises the value of our earliest perceptions, and
the imagination it evoked, is "Neue Welt" (New World) (2001).
It consists of a small mountain of papier-mâché under a glass
bell-jar, covered and surrounded with small plastic flowers and plants,
a rabbit and two astronauts (Playmobil figures). One used to lose one's
head over fantastic worlds like these; it formed the focus of all kinds
of wild stories and fantasies. It is as if, through this work, Oosting
preaches to cherish and maintain such openness and imagination.
work contains much comedy, such as her ceramic landscapes "Eiland
I" (Island I) (1999), "Eiland met bomen" (Island with trees)
(1999), and "Landschapje aan de muur" (Little island on the
wall) (2000) (wall object for a private person in Groningen) that might
be entourages for the Thunderbirds or the Flintstones. They are not particularly
refined landscapes, but they do have an enormous comic effect in their
heavy and awkward accentuation (bumps, shells, and flowers). Then there
are the photo works that form registrations of "animated" worlds.
Miniature figures (from model making) are feeling a melon. "It is
ripe" (1999) is one of the workman's conclusions. He is in the ration
of the melon as a mountaineer to a gigantic rock. In the "Schrobben"
(Scrubbing) (1999) picture, two industrious cleaning women are caught
cleaning the drain of a sink. "Flips" (1999) shows a parade
of crisps on sticks heading for a red bowl.
In March/April 2002, Oosting exhibited a number of assembled buildings to scale in a period room of Kunstlievend Genootschap Pictura in Groningen ("In Holland staat een huis", 2002). The buildings, the style of which strongly resembles the utopian tinted modernist architecture of the twenties of the last century, are made of waste wood, fruit cases, drainers, a magazine stand, a reed basket, etc. They are displayed on a multicoloured carpet under a chandelier, and can be admired from a distance from behind a museum cord which separates the audience from expensive works of art. One looks down on them as a spectator and optimally experiences their relativistic working. Grandiloquent ideas about art and architecture seem to be slightly mocked this way. But this is not the work's only quality. As is the case in many other of Oosting's works, the whole also radiates sensuality as a result of the use of forms and colour.
is an important quality in Oosting's work, but a certain melancholy can
also be found in it. Works made in the working period in the Künstlerhaus
(artist's house) Schloß Balmoral in Bad Ems particularly show a
tragic side in addition to their frivolous character. This ambivalence
can already be seen in the "Witte Bomen" (White Trees) photograph
from 2000. Nothing has been stage-managed in this work, as opposed to
earlier work. It is the registration of an orchard somewhere in central
Europe, the tree-trunks of which have been painted white. The colour white
may be connotated to feelings of happiness and peacefulness, yet it is
unclear what white represents. The elimination of these trees, perhaps?
Are they by any chance sick and branded? Does this reality, though poetic
at first sight, have a black rim?
form of the latter two mountains strongly reminds me of the tower of Babel
painted by Pieter Brueghel de Oudere in the 15th century, for instance.
Another, papier-mâché, mountain by Oosting, called "Berg
und Autobahn" (Mountain and motorway) (2001, 119 x 380 x 360 cm)
also has this characteristic form. The mountain is planted with plastic
trees, encircled by wood power pylons and surrounded by a winding motorway
on high stands. Some artists depict the tower of Babel with a road circling
around it. The tower was built by humans in order to reach up into heaven.
God punished them for their pride by confusing their languages which made
it impossible for people to understand one another.