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Counting Crows

Floris Verster's painting 'Two dead rooks' (1907) has been one of my favourite paintings for years. I had long been toying with the idea of making a painting with a postcard of this work on it. When the request came from Han Steenbruggen of Museum Belvédère to create work for the exhibition 'Like Death', I immediately thought of this painting. The birds themselves are no longer alive ánd crows also symbolise death.

For the exhibition, I made another painting with nine postcards of different artworks about death: ' Death is Not the End'. From this work by Floris Verster, I wanted to make a separate painting. In my head, I had the image of a painting that is itself a kind of echo of the work on the postcard, in terms of tessellation and colour. I love the stillness in the work and this would not come into its own in a painting on which a lot is happening.

Last year in February, during a storm in Groningen, on the route to my studio, a large tree blew down killing dozens of rooks. For weeks I cycled past the scene and kept thinking of that sad news. Meanwhile, the tracks have disappeared and grass is growing on the empty spot, but while making this painting I kept thinking about it and that is reflected in the title of the work.

Almost all the paintings in this series I have given the title of a song lyric. This time I chose a band name, Counting Crows.

And for those who want to know the difference between crows and rooks, you can find more information here:

Counting Crows, oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm, 2023

Featuring 'Two dead rooks' by Floris Verster on the postcard. The painting is currently on display at Kunstmuseum Den Haag.

The exhibition 'Like Death' will be on view from 11 February to 11 June 2023 at Museum Belvédère.

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