In the eyes of Philippe Schuermans: sisal by Cornelis Hoek

Object poetry, I make you mine. Philippe Schuermans is a storyteller at heart and each of his finds brings him to new lands, to which he pays homage through his stagings. Inspiration, documentation, these are the key words of this antique dealer who today presents a tapestry by Cornelis Hoek alongside wooden sculptures representing Adam and Eve ...

 

“This wall tapestry was made by Cornelis Hoek and exhibited at Centrum de Vaart in Hilversum in the Netherlands in December 1974. It turns out that it is not signed and only connoisseurs can recognize the work of this artist. Sensitive to the works of Cornelis Hoek, I had the necessary documentation to appreciate the tapestry at its true value. I had recognized it immediately, having the catalog in mind, in the back of my head. That's when you have to listen to yourself and buy the piece. I was then able to acquire it at a reasonable price and the archives in my possession allowed me to retrace its history, put a name, a date and find the place of exhibition ...

Born in 1937, Cornelis Hoek is a Dutch artist who ultimately created very few tapestries, 14 unique pieces. He subsequently turned to painting and abandoned the art of tapestry. This model is in sisal, twisted and braided, the material is in the spotlight in particular with the central loops which bring relief and character. It is good to know that sisal was a very little used material in art at that time. It was rather dedicated to the rope industry to make boat moorings, for example. Since sisal is difficult to work with, upholsterers usually prefer more convenient supports such as wool.

 

Very decorative, the tapestry has come back up to date and this model is particularly anchored in the current trend between brutalism and minimalism. The large format of 190 by 130 cm, the color that tends towards "rust" ... In my opinion, it represents a painting, all in texture, and can also be used as a background to enhance other objects placed in front of it.

 

I present it with two sculptures representing Adam and Eve, carved from pine wood. The anecdote is quite funny. An African collector once called me to offer me items from his personal collection for sale. Not being a connoisseur of African Art, I usually refuse this kind of proposal but that day, my curiosity guided me to this man.

 

So I found a row of statuettes and other African objects of which I could not certify the authenticity. To be on the safe side, I didn't buy any pieces from this collection, but the sculptures of Adam and Eve, arranged in a corner, caught my eye. Dated from the 1960s, they are made by a Frenchman living in Africa and signed UZY. Their naive art aspect, their ocher-like color, in my opinion, go perfectly with the tapestry and reinforce the brutalist aspect that I wanted to highlight. "