Jhunry Udenhout is a Surinamese sculptor who has mastered the craft exclusively by self study. From mahogany the artist creates lifelike human sculptures and abstract pieces in fascinating compositions, all based on a carefully thought out concept. Earlier this year, thanks to the ArtRoPa-art exchange project between Rotterdam and Paramaribo, Jhunry spends a month in the Netherlands. Here he wants to observe different forms of art, particularly three-dimensional art, and wants to see how he measures up against international colleagues and the great masters from the past.
Where did you go to in the Netherlands and what were you most impressed by?
“I visited so many museums and exhibitions that I don’t even remember them all by heart. What did fascinate me most however, is an exhibition of an English sculptor (Tony Cragg, red. SAX) at Museum Beelden aan Zee (Museum Sculptures at Sea) in Scheveningen. The diversity in materials such as synthetics, compressed multiplex, bronze, glass, wood and steel and the unique execution of ideas, that truly made a deep impression on me. More than ever I too would like to experiment with other materials, but regrettably I have neither the means nor the facilities necessary to do so at this moment.”
You also travelled to France. What impressed you most there?
“The work of my biggest idol Michelangelo in the Louvre naturally! He was one of my largest sources of inspiration when I started. A great deal of my self studies and my first anatomic pieces were done based upon the work of Michelangelo, out of books that I was studying at the time. And then, there I stood in front of Michelangelo’s masterpiece The slave. My first reaction was an awestruck: Wow! This truly Michelangelo!’ Then I started a careful study of the work and the next thing that came out of my mouth was: ’But I can do this too’. My companions, who were standing right next to me, gave me a look of total incredulity. But I really can do this too!”
Were there also things you were less impressed with?
“Yes. Strangely enough it was the sculpture The kiss by another great idol of mine, Auguste Rodin. We visited the Rodin Museum and I was actually looking forward to this exact piece. When I stood in front of it however, an immense feeling of disappointment went through me. I can’t explain it, but it was not what I had expected. Oh well, it is what it is… I was greatly impressed by most everything else in the museum though. There was even remarkable work by several mistresses of Rodin who were also talented sculptresses. That was quite surprising and very interesting indeed.”
Text: Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld