WITH A SILENT DRUM
(Cristina Ramos) Your upcoming exhibition is titled “With a Silent Drum”, which comes from a Dutch expression that people use when leaving a social situation without announcing it. In Catalan, there is a phrase that conveys the same meaning, “fer un pensament”, which could be translated into “to do some thinking”. I like this paralelism between solitude and thinking, as it seems that being alone is the appropiate state to tune in with one’s thinking. What is the relationship between the title and the works in the exhibition?
(Geran Knol) A lot of my work is about solitude and a certain kind of sadness. I like the contrast between a more serious feel and the direct /naïve-like approach I take in my work. I don’t choose this theme deliberately but it’s something that always comes back. In “With a Silent Drum”, most of the figures walk towards the right, a trick people use in film to make clear someone is leaving home (walking towards the left indicates returning home). To me the works are almost like décors from a theater play, and the shapes I used on some of the outside borders are a bit reminiscent of children’s drums.
(CR) You could say that the works are filled with shapes and lines but at the same time there is an ambition for simplicity.
(GK) I like to bring my work back to a very elementary structure. Even if there are figurative elements like a figure or a tree, I see them more like statues inside the painting.
(CR) How would you describe drawing? Do you use any specific tools in making the works?
(GK) I have a growing collection of mostly, wooden antique rulers. I kind of see them as sculptural pieces and like the odd shapes and the aged numbering on them. But I also use them for my drawings. I use different rulers for everything, depending on the size or a certain curve I want to draw. For the works in “With a Silent Drum”, I also used plates to make the round shapes. For me drawing is both a way to get ideas out and a medium of its own. I use both charcoal and mechanical pencils in various sizes.
(CR) How about colour – when do you decide on a palette?
(GK) I don’t really decide on a palette but kind of grew into my current one by looking around and getting inspired by anything from a painted façade to the color of a piece of tape for example. I tend to prefer more muted colours, but I like them in contrast with more vibrant colours as well, like using a deep blue.
(CR) Your work has triggered me thinking of Raymond Queneau’s book “Exercises in Style” in which the autor takes a brief scene that happens inside a bus and repeats it 99 times, each time written in a different literary style. The scene itself is comically inconsequential, like some forgotten anecdote. It resonates with your work in that he pushes language around in a multiplicity of directions to see what will happen, and in that the simplicity and banality of the material he starts from gives birth to so much.
Geran Knol (Makkinga, the Netherlands, 1991). He is currently living and working in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied art at ArtEZ School of Arts in Zwolle (the Netherlands) and received his Bachelor Degree in 2012, after which he completed a Master of Visual Arts at St. Lucas University of Arts (Antwerp), in 2015.
His practice is articulated from drawing into painting, combining figurative and intangible lines to depict daily life situations that can be painfully awkward or those which people prefer to forget. Besides his own practice, he is also involved in Park Pardon, an art collective he founded with his long-term friend Bloeme van Bon.
Knol has participated in group exhibitions including “Plaatjes & Praatjes”, Willem II Fabriek, (Den Bosch, 2019); AppointMENT, MENT (Ljubljana, 2019); ¡Unclear Clarity”, ABC Klubhuis (Antwerp, 2017); and “The Considered Cabinet of Deliberate Thoughts”, Bries Space (Antwerp, 2015).