am an observer: Bernadette Beunk
Beunk’s abstract drawings and paintings resemble scores or
choreographies: graphic representations that are meant to evoke sound,
movement and emotion. Yet here, these sensations are transferred to the
image directly, without the intervention of a musician or dancer .
‘I am an observer’, Bernadette Beunk says in a soft voice. She looks out the window. ‘Now I am aware of the rustling of the wind, the movement of the leaves, the changing shadows, the sound of cars passing, hammer blows, the beating of my heart.
used to often draw outdoors. I absorbed things and my pencil moved over
the paper, but I did not copy them. Why copy what is already there? To
me, it is the emotions evoked by the things that count.’ Beunk follows
in the footsteps of Kandinsky, one of the first abstract painters, who
in 1910 figured that depicting the world obstructed the view on art.
Similar to the composer who uses abstract sounds, the painter must,
according to Kandinsky, express himself in pure form and colour. With
that, one can touch the viewer’s heart. Art theoretician Suzanne Langer
devised the ‘resonance theory’ for this, which supposes that forms and
sounds appeal to certain emotions.
am an observer’, Beunk says. I registrate the subtle changes
around me and within myself. Sound, movement, light, feeling. So many
things happen at the same time, too many, and I want to get a grip on
them.’ Drawing is a physical necessity for Beunk. She balances on the
thin cord between chaos and order. Sometimes she regains control for
instance during the period around 1994; then she was looking for
rational clarity. She had just won the Prix de Rome and had met Peter