I went to the Realisme 10 art fair in Amsterdam last week.

 It was held in the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, a fairly new building in the ‘docklands’ development area of Amsterdam, not far from Central Station. It’s right next to the Musiekgebouw concert hall, a building with fantastic architecture that I’ll write about in a future post.

 First of all, the posters advertising the exhibit were great: the name of the show was written to read “Real is me” and there was a close up of a painted eye- clear but surrealist at the same time.

The exhibition principally featured paintings, with a few pieces of sculpture, ceramics, photography and mixed media.

Far and away the works that spoke to me the most were the oversized, simplified still lives of Bernard Verkaaik.  The works on show followed a similar pattern: a dark grey background, the simplest of tables and a few turnips or plums or jars glowing with light, the humblest of objects, touchingly rendered in minute detail. Timeless pieces.

“Donkere Pot met Navetten” 2009

“Lenteuitje” 2009

 Strange that artists call these pieces “still lives” (or even more of a misnomer in French, “nature morte”). There is nothing still or dead about these pieces.  They are full of energy, but capture a movement, like a photograph.

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