The Breeze, The Air and The Smell of The City

In Lithograph and Painting Exhibition:
Love for The City

Jeroen Hermkens

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‘s Hertogenbosch 2005

Travelling has became a way of living or so called ‘lifestyle mobility’ for more people than ever in the past. Many people want to experience the tourism, expecting the best of the place could offered. Some of them want to taste the local food. Others say that they want to feel the culture. For a Dutch born artist, Jeroen Hermkens, he wants to feel something deeper. With his undoubted eyes of an artist, he observes the surrounding even on the corner of the city that he visits. He wants to feel the air and the smell of living just like the local citizens. Only with that he would take sketches on the spot he is interested in the city.

Jeroen’s artworks has been internationally acknowledged, especially his lithography works of cities around the world. He holds exhibition of his fine works for more than 20 years. He had potrayed his experience through his visit in New York, Rome, Vienna, Tokyo, Istanbul, Kyoto and many more. Also extensive works of numerous cities of his homeland, the Netherlands. Each of those places, Jeroen looked at the different angles from his curiousity of the cities. He took sketches from Railway lines, pedestrian streets, riversides, even the views from restaurants and cafes where he sat and drew.

In the Dutch culture centre, Erasmus Huis Jakarta, he holds lihtograph and painting exhibition as the start of even in 2015 for the gallery. The exhibition shows the best collection of his homeland’s citues and from his short visit in Jakarta.

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Leiden 2007

With Love, from The Duch Cities

I walked around the exhibition room, pretty much enjoying the view of remarkable painting and lithograph. The lithograph series of Dutch cities are exceptionally great. For someone who had lived in the country for more than five years, when I saw his works, I could felt the breeze of the peaceful and quite wind from the ‘centrum’ street above the canals. I could imagine sitting down in the cafe’s terrace reading a book or chatting with couple of friends while enjoying the city landmark buildings. For those who never been to the country, you would imagine somewhere calm and ease, places that you could walk around and by the end of the day, you would filled by charm of the city and its people. But for those have been there, you would confirm it, you would have those good memories, you would feel that you are in those places one more time. It’s like a birthday present wrapped in artworks. That is what Jeroen shows his love impressions of the cities from his homeland.

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Zuthpen 2007

Jeroen Hermkens was born, raised and studied art in Utrecht, one of the big cities in The Netherlands. The city is famous for its cultural, artistic and beautiful city in the country. Compare to the other big cities, Utrecht really preserves the Dutch authentic building and churches from ancient time. The city holds numbers of art exhibitions and culture events. It is no wonder that Jeroen and many of Dutch artists could grown their talents in this city.

Beside the exhibition room, there is a library which the layout very similar with the one of my former university, very much Dutch, simple and neat. In front of the library, it displays art books collection of the artist journey. The thickest book was Jeroen’s collecrion of his beloved hometown, Utrecht City. I immediately picked up the book then took a chair in the library. I sat down for almost 30 minutes turning the pages full of lithograph photos of Utrecht. On the sideline, he tells stories of each work how much the city has been inspired him. The focus on his works are not what people commonly found, he wants to tell that there are more beauty lie within the city. It shows in his works that he also pay a lot of attention to the streets, the trees even the reflection in the water. The definition of color that he used is finely composed.

Processed with RookieUtrecht 2012

Other Dutch cities that displayed on the exhibition such as Amsterdam Groningen, Rotterdam, Leiden, and so on.

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Haarlem 2008

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Jakarta on First Impression

In recent years, he visited Jakarta. Although the trip was meant for another job, it was the first time he went to the country. For a week he toured Jakarta in taxi and bajaj, the passenger seat of scooters. His impression of Jakarta was tremendous. The heat, the chaostic traffic and the tropical storm of the city would make everyone to take shelter. The scene of Bajaj in the rain, was taken from his standing view on a train station as a shelter.

He also went to old port of Sunda Kelapa, which he said as the most beautiful harbours he has ever seen. The color of the wooden cargo ships with natural curved shapes called him for making a painting. He observed the hectic activities of the workers in old fashion way, like a man carried a bag sack of cement. “A feast for an artist” that what he said. He sat down and started to draw. Heading back from Sunda Kelapa, Jeroen acrossed Pluit district, a densely populated in the Northern Jakarta. He was amazed by the chaos alleys where not getting lost is impossible for a visitor like himself. Until a school bus full of smiling children gave him a lift. The following days, he also visited Tanjung Priok, Jakarta’s main port. He saw the modern port was being constructed. He set one day sail on a large ship. The construction was to expand the city with new islands.

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Jakarta Bajaj 2014

Back in his studio in Utrecht, Jeroen spread his drawings of his visit to Jakarta. He walked around them for a few weeks to let the drawings work on him. The images and memories would come back to him naturally. Then he decided which drawings were the best representations of his trip. Out of them, he made mostly paintings in canvas and one lithograph that I found was the Bajaj in the rain. In his other works, Jeroen usually focus on life events in the city and leave the cityspace empty. But for the first time, he could not avoid people. The people in the rain and in the harbour could be seen. That is what the city left its impression on him.

For this exhibition, I choose to focus on Jeroen’s lithographs although there are some paintings in the room. His lithographs are truly exquisite and charming. I really wish that someday I could see the process of lithography such as the printing and the coloring. When the day comes, I hope to appreciate and to express the lithography works much more better.

Read also the article version of this on Scribd

Keep the love,