In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This week he talks about ‘I Sculpure Paramaribo II’ and ‘I Sculpture Paramaribo VI’, acryl on canvas, 114 cm wide x 80 cm high, 2014, from Dhiradj Ramsamoedj.
He has been talking about it for years. Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Paramaribo, 1986) would love to create a sculpture park somewhere around Paramaribo. Or place sculptures at characteristic locations in the city. Just like other plans of such a dreamy nature, it’s difficult to have them realized. They usually get stuck somewhere in the sketch phase and then quietly disappear in an ever greedy drawer.
These works attest to the fact that he did not let that happen. He has converted them into a series of paintings.
These works at least visualize what his intention was. Sculptures or sculpture groupings in clear view of recognizable, familiar buildings. But there is more that they visualize. In contrast to the buildings, the human figures of Dhiradj Ramsamoedj are far from the reality. They have deformed bodies with strange heads, but without faces. From their postures some information might possibly be derived. Arrogance? Despite their nakedness, their gender remains unclear. They look like creatures from another planet. The paintings remind me of scenes from a thrilling science-fiction film. That sense of suspense is not just created by the strange creatures, but also by the surroundings. Although they might be familiar, the use of color, the shadows and the black lines make them seem ominous. As though there is dramatic change in weather coming up.
In all of his works Ramsamoedj ultimately portrays an image of people. His ‘Flexible Man’, constructed from colorful scraps of material is a prime example thereof. I cannot shake off the impression that his image of mankind shows negative traits. His people seem to withdraw from their environment. They seem to have no regard for these surroundings. Didn’t Ramsamoedj make an empty-plastic-bottle sculpture, drifting on the Suriname River, at the beginning of his art career? As a kind of symbol of pollution? Is the approaching storm sensation that these paintings generate, not a portrayal of the consequences? Is his flexible man not just a disguised conformist who doesn’t want to stand for anything?
If this explanation makes sense, then there is every reason to place the sculptures of Ramsamoedj on strategic locations in the city. They at least provide some food for thought. And in the meantime they break the code that sculptures in public spaces should always represent pride, glorification or remembrance.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Amsterdam, October, 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to see this and other work of Dhiradj Ramsamoedj ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Dhiradj Ramsamoedj please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/dhiradjramsamoedj.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on October 22, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on October 22, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.