‘The Paper Trail’ – Erik de Bree

The starting point of this exhibition is the series ‘wallpaper paintings’. These are created by layering a wooden panel with multiple layers of wallpaper and then removing parts of the wallpaper. This process is repeated as long as the composition is created. Allowing the unforeseen in the work process makes up a large part of these paintings.

In the series ‘withdrawal symptoms’, which are usually smaller in size than the paintings, a new method is introduced. In stacked layers of (wall)paper, incisions are made with a knife and ink is applied onto the surface of the paper. The groves left by the knife are partially filled with ink. When the excess ink is removed, ink remains in the cuts and forms thin lines that can be compared with pencil lines. Then, again, parts from the drawing are removed, reversed and affected to create an unexpected composition.

Working with wallpaper and patterns inspired the series; ‘Patterns’. With acrylic paint and a glass sheet as tools. Layers of paint are applied on the glass and partially removed. The technique is similar to the series mentioned above. Although these works do not consist of paper, their way of creation makes them part of ‘The paper trail’

‘The paper trail’ is a path that acts as a guide, the destination is unknown. During the process there are many coincidences, unforeseen directions and discoveries that are an important part of the creation and outcome of these pieces of art.

In 2012 Erik was looking for new ways to present his works. He had the idea to apply wallpaper to the walls of an exposition space and partially removing it again. Tearing and removing the wallpaper, and presenting his art on the remains. He picked up a few roles at the thrift shop and tested the effects in his studio. He gradually became more and more intrigued by the qualities of the wallpaper. Then he decided to build a panel, almost as big as the wall of his studio, and made his first ‘wallpaper painting’.

After the first piece, he was immediately hooked. He sat his paints and brushes aside and began to investigate the possibilities of the wallpaper. Now, 5 years later, the fascination for the wallpaper-material is still not exhausted and new methods are still being discovered to create new pieces of art.

Erik de Bree (1977) lives and works in Haarlem. He studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is co-founder and curator of the artist-run space ‘Horizonverticaal’ in Haarlem. He has been part of several solo and group exhibitions and his works are in a.o. the Caldic collection, the collection of Pieter and Marieke Sanders, and several company collections.

Following The paper trail from Arno on Vimeo.