- I’m very interested to know the origins of Dreamscapes Contemporary Imaginary Realism. Will you tell us more about the foundation of your art books and exhibitions?
As professional photographer and fine art printer I worked since the 90’s with many artists and also the American artist Michael Parkes. It was the first time that I was really touched by art after seeing his art. I never grow up with art and I had no idea that his art was called magic realism. When we worked closely on his book “The World of Michael Parkes” he told me everything about his art and creations. From that moment I was more and more interested in this kind of art and found out that beside magic realism I also liked symbolism, surrealism, fantastic realism and later pop surrealism without knowing the differences in styles. In the Netherlands we have a long tradition of what I called realism with imagination which goes back to Hieronimush Bosch. Because of my fine art printing company I met many people in the art business and many times (even by art crtitics) I was told “this is not art, this is kitsch”. I could not understand why because when I visit museums all around the world it they are full with imaginair realistic art so why are contemporary artists in this genre not taken serious and why don’t we see it often in galleries. This was the reason for me to do something for what I called “ Comtemporary Imaginary realism”, wanted to make a statement and started to publish the first Dreamscape(s) book in 2006 with a small Dreamscapes exhibition.
- You organize the exhibitions and display each artist within the pages of the Dreamscapes art book. You’ve just secured the 6th edition. Congratulations! What is this process like for you? How long does it take from conceptualization to competition?
When I started with the first Dreamscapes book my idea was to publish a book every year. I had no intention to make also exhibitions. Because of the release of the first book I had the opportunity to make a small exhibition together with a gallery in The Netherlands. That small book release exhibition was very successful and I realized this could be something special for the future. I set myself as a goal to eventually have a Dreamscapes exhibition in a known museum. The whole process of finding good artists, making a book and organizing exhibitions is a very intense process, especially if you want to do it very professional and perfect.
After the first 2 books and small exhibits I saw that to show quality was very important to get taken serious. Not all artists I showed in the first 2 books had a unique style or a high quality. I needed to be more critic if I wanted to achieve my goal. To make a book and an exhibition every year was not feasible for me if you approached perfection and became less important to me. Both the book and the exhibitions had to be of a high level and I did not want to publish a book that repeats itself every year. After each edition of Dreamscapes it can takes 3 years before I start with a new edition. After each edition, I need to take a step back to stay objective. It takes normally about a year from inviting artists till the first book release exhibition.
- Speaking of the exhibition, ‘Dreamscapes’ (featuring 75 artists worldwide) opens November 9 and remains on view through February 2018. What can viewers expect to see? Where is the opening reception going to be held?
This 6th edition of Dreamscapes will start on 9 November in Traun, Austria in the foyer of Tannpapier. We show about 200 paintings and 40 sculpturtes from more then 50 artists all around the world. People will see all styles of imaginary realism like magic realism, surrealism, fantastic realism, symbolism and pop surrealism. On 9 November at 19.00 there will be a big vernissage and many artists will be present during the kick-of of edition 6 of Dreamscapes.
After Traun, Austria there will be big Dreamscapes exhibitions in The Netherlands (Amsterdam), Germany (Viechtach) and Belgium. Beside these big exhibitions we also organize smaller exhibitions in coorporation with galleries.
- In all facets of life, inspiration is a formative tool for creation. What inspired you to develop and then continue your Dreamscapes project?
As I explained in the first question my inspiration was to make a statement for this kind of art but today it is more the need to make this books and exhibition to show the world contemporary imaginair realism art.
- Imaginary realism is an extension of magical realism. Whether created through paintings, film or literature there are often diverse parallels in its allegorical narrative. What is the significance to you?
Is it an expansion or magical realism? I doubt that. It’s ever been said and we can read it on Wikipedia but I look at the literal translation “realism with imagination”. Does it matter whether it is magic realism or surrealism for the viewer? They are realistic paintings and sculptures with imagination without placing these art forms in booths.
- Each book has a distinct style and quality. What do you aim for in order to supersede that with each new edition?
I do not want to repeat myself with the books like others do and I want to continue to challenge myself. Every book I want to make it different and come up with some new artists that I never showed before. For edition 6, we have a completely new contemporary design with quotes from the artists about their work or inspiration. I will always strive for perfection and it is important for me to show the art of the artists in their best way.
- There’s a very surreal perspective of hybrid plots and visuals, where extraordinary ingredients easily couples an ordinary scene… and the result depicts magical/imaginary realism. What are some of your favorite elements and characteristics?
I am not sure if I have favorite elements or characteristics. Life and death are a common thing in imaginary realism art and I love it when there is a dark mysterious side in an artwork. Personally, I can be touched by anything from a piece of art regardless of the style. That can also be and abstract piece of art. You are attracted to something in an artwork and that in itself is magic. In 2005 I saw for the first time the artworks of Eli Tiunine and her paintings are so heavy and dark that many people don’t liked it but I was fascinated by it and it was the only thing what I still remembered from that exhibition. I have the same with the art of Shiori Matsumoto. The first impression is beauty but if you look longer you see that the beauty has something macabre. That deep underlayer in a piece of art is something that I like.
- I really enjoy the work of Alberto Savinio. Who are some of your favorite imaginary realism/magical realism artists?
There are so many imaginary contemporary artists that I like but of course Michael Parkes is important to me, I like his older style, his stone lithographs and sculptures. I really love the art of Shiori Matsumoto, Hans Kanters, Lukas Kandl, Marek Zyga Giovanni Tommasi Ferroni, Tomasz Kopera, David Bowers and Micha Lobi. When we talk about older masters that are not living anymore, I like Hieronymus Bosch, van Eyck brothers, Pyke Koch, Paul Delvaux, Beksinsi, Botticelli and Da Vinci. Take a look at Botticello paintings Venus and Mars, Birth of Venus, Primavera or Da Vinci his painting Annunciation. For me it is imaginair realism.
- You feature a wide-ranging scope of artists. The artwork is fascinating. If an artist would like to submit and participate in an upcoming edition of Dreamscapes, how do they go about doing this? Are you currently accepting submissions?
Yes, we accept new submissions and are always looking for new artists. After 12 years Dreamscapes we get many requests from artists who want to be in the book or exhibitions but we are also very selective. Uniqueness and quality is very important because there also so many artists that copy other artists. Direct recognizability of the artist is very important to me. New submissions for edition 7 will put on our list but sometimes we already show them in exhibitons. By time we start with a new edition the artist will receive an invitation from us.
- Where are your art books available for purchase?
At the end of this year we launch a complete new website www.imaginaryrealism.com with a webshop where you can buy the books, limited editions and also original artwork. This website will be a platform for imaginary realism art.
- What can we look forward to from Dreamscapes Imaginary Editions… what do you see on the horizon?
At first there will be the new website at the end of this year. We will be very active on this website and come also with short documentary’s about artists. I always had the plan to publish more art books and linited editions for Dreamscapes artists with my “imaginary Editions”. I have a fine art printing company and we print already for many international artists.
From 2017 till 2019 we will do a couple of big Dreamscapes exhibitions.
At the horizon I see some museum exhibitions in well known museums and at the end of the horizon there is a real museum for Imaginair Realism art in The Netherlands.