Paintings
Inner woord
The girl and the wolf
Portraits
Musicians
Landscapes

BoOkS (in Dutch)
Even now (life story of an Auschwitz survivor)
Turning point - About personal crises and chances 
Who is crazy, actually? - About the therapeutic relationship  
Do not disturb - A critical discussion about the mental health care
Ten composer portraits in word and image 

CV 
Saar Roelofs

 


saar.roelofs@xs4all.nl

 

 

 
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LIKE AN AXE IN HARD FROZEN ICE

Introduction of the cycle of paintings
The Girl and the wolf

of Saar Roelofs

by Hans Paalman (1932 2007)
former director Municipal Museum Schiedam
on the occasion of the 1998 exhibition in the 
War Museum Overloon, The Netherlands

This introduction is published in the exhibition catalogue, 1998

"Art is like an axe in hard frozen ice." This expression of the writer Franz Kafka (1883-1927) can certainly be applied to the plastic arts. For in the plastic arts the artist confronts the spectator with a visual presentation which can be moving, beautiful or shocking; sometimes the artist shows us a mirror of her or his own soul, sometimes a mirror of mankind. Such a mirror of man, his thoughts and his motives is the pictorial epic of Saar Roelofs.

Her cycle of paintings The Girl and the Wolf, partly inspired by the book of Simon Wiesenthal Max and Helen, shows us almost in a physical way the story of the girl and the wolf. Through twenty-four canvases, subdivided into eight triptychs, the majority of which are painted in black and white, Saar Roelofs tells the story of the dramatic life of the girl.
The canvases are introvert, with depiction's of human figures who are not put in an environment or framework, but who tell us their story in an utter loneliness. In some of the canvases color is used only to depict the most cruel, the most dishonoring, and the most humiliating events.
Like Picasso in his magisterial canvas Guernica Saar Roelofs achieves with her grey and white colors a dramatic tension. Whereas Picasso's Guernica is the shroud of the holy Basque city of Guernica, Saar Roelofs' work of art is the shroud of the numberless victims of rape and genocide in the concentration camps.

The Santa Sindone, called the shroud of Turin, was in the last years of the eighties considered as the shroud in which Jesus was buried. The linen shows an anatomically correct negative of a dead man who died by crucifixion. Picasso's Guernica looks like a grey-white shroud, because this enormous canvas gives the impression of a fragile piece of linen. But the sight of this canvas - for me in 1965 in the Museum of Modern Art in New York - brings about an intense shock. It makes one realize that Guernica in 1939 was the forerunner of the violence which would break out later.
The phrase "watchfulness is demanded" by the progressive and left artists in the thirties is visualized in this canvas of Picasso.

The work of Saar Roelofs also calls for watchfulness. This epic was created building on the attainments of illustrious predecessors like Munch and Goya, and also inspired by photos of wars. Standing before this work of art, names of destruction camps like Sobibor, Auschwitz and Dachau come into mind, but also Japanese camps, the camps of Stalin and the camps of Pol Pot and recently Omarska... Also the massacres in villages in Rwanda and Algeria...

Watchfulness is demanded. The moving and impressive work of Saar Roelofs compels us to keep watchful. 

The artist can hold up a mirror: the mirror of mankind. The artist brings a message. Let us comprehend this message in the meaning of Franz Kafka's expression: "Art is like an axe in hard frozen ice".  

 

See also:

Explanation by the artist

 

Paintings
Inner woord
The girl and the wolf
Portraits
Musicians
Landscapes

BoOkS (in Dutch)
Even now (life story of an Auschwitz survivor)
Turning point - About personal crises and chances 
Who is crazy, actually? - About the therapeutic relationship  
Do not disturb - A critical discussion about the mental health care
Ten composer portraits in word and image 

CV 
Saar Roelofs

 


saar.roelofs@xs4all.nl

 

 

 
Partner
Productions