Still life

Part graphic novel cells, part semi-fictional diary, the drawings of Dutch artist Marcel van Eeden speak of smoky environs and shady characters reminiscent of stills from monochrome film noirs.

An exhibition, which opens at Spruth Magers London later this week, will showcase a new series of drawings focused around 22 November 1984, a date when the lives of several characters that have inhabited Van Eeden’s world since the 1990s collide.

Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948
Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948

Karl M. Wiegand, whose colourful and varied life has seen him become a championship boxer, mountain climber and husband to Elizabeth Taylor, calls Oswald Sollmann, the globetrotting archaeologist-cum-assassin and Matheus Boryna, artist, art expert, and psychiatrist, to a meeting in Vienna as a result of Wiegand’s obsessive quest for the elusive works of the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald.

Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948
By Marcel van Eeden

Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948
By Marcel van Eeden

Enter some exploding ships, burning houses, a tram accident and a bit of murder and an atmosphere of dark excitement is set. But those expecting a straightforward narrative will be quickly thwarted, as Van Eaden’s characters float in and out of focus, evading a set story.

Van Eeden’s working practice is equally as interesting. Working to a series of self imposed rules, Van Eeden works on paper hand-cut to 19 x 28cm; he fills the picture diagonally starting from the upper left-hand corner; and, amazingly, has created one drawing per day since 1993.

Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948
By Marcel van Eeden

Sprueth Magers London. Marcel van Eeden. November 22 1948
By Marcel van Eeden

Marcel van Eeden, November 22 1984 is at Spruth Magers London 7a Grafton Street, London W1S from 24 June – 13 August.

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