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sculptures Mathieu nab

frank Brandwijk pictures


Preface | Life fascinates me, beautiful things enthral me and my work bears witness to the joy and fascination I feel. I express that feeling of wonderment and breathtaking amazement for the beauty of life through my sculptures and I wish to awaken it in others. Art is a way of life, a passion. Marble, wood, stone. I sense the lixfe within, it excites me and I yearn to release it. I surrender to the feeling bubbling up inside me and begin to carve, sometimes with no advance plan, sometimes knowing exactly what it is to become. I work directly in the material, gradually carving away more and more material with each push of the chisel. I forget the world around me, totally absorbed and at one with the form taking shape in my hands. The female form intrigues me and my first works were of reclining and standing female figures. I now sculpt heads in which form has been reduced. The straight line of the nose contrasts with the rhythmical movement of the hair, a symphony of flat planes and waving lines. At the same time, the head is not entirely abstract as it has an all-seeing eye, which gives it presence, energy. I aim to create universal likeness, not individual image. I am looking for direct contact, the link to life. I love to carve and I enjoy working with robust materials. I need resistance, something that tempers my impatience. Stone links me to the earth. In Bijoux I carved two figures in a riverbed, a couple embracing. The stone was hard, the water cold and my hands bled. An invigorating experience. Setting free the inherent beauty of the stone is a time-consuming but utterly rewarding experience and if I lived in a warmer climate I might only work in marble. In Portugal, Rosa Aurora, a veined, pink marble is cut straight out of the mountain. From this wonderful stone I carved a beautiful horse’s head that took form as I worked.

Unlike stone and marble, wood imparts a warmth, depth and richness. The discovery of a set of oak beams from a 16th century monastery set me on a new course. Inspired, I carved a self-portrait from one of those beams, wondering, while chiselling away, how long ago the oak tree, now my beam, had been planted. My fervour ignited, I created my two-horse sculpture at the Water Tower Complex in Amsterdam from Padauk, a tropical hardwood from West Africa. Working with wood fills me with joy and grief. Grief that the rainforests are being ravaged, and joy for the beauty it gives us. I wish my sculptures to tell their tale. I do not want to limit the viewer’s imagination with my interpretation and I do not want to be bound by explanations. People always want words but some things cannot be explained. Some things you simply have to feel. The essence, my essence, is freedom. To work, to live, to love without fear. I do not need to distinguish myself as a person, what matters is the expressive power of my images, they must have immediate impact, the viewer must sense their meaning. Mathieu Nab | Amsterdam, june 2010

Frank Brandwijk


Preface | This book is my photographic composition of Mathieu’s sculptures. I have known him for many years and the idea for this book was formed whilst sharing the same studio. It is a joint work born out of personal and professional respect. Photography is my passion and since graduating in 1985 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, I feel privileged to be able to earn my living doing what I love. My mind constantly forms photographic images of everything I see. Through my lens I want to share beauty by capturing it in a compelling photograph that will uplift the soul and awaken a feeling of awe in the viewer. If I can do this with my work, I am content. Seeing with a camera goes beyond simply looking. It is a journey of discovery and understanding. My aim is to create a striking and original image. I am especially drawn to organic forms, such as, a woman’s body or plant life. Revealing special images from a world of shapes, forms and textures is a challenge. I love to build, to create something out of nothing, and will work tirelessly until I have that perfect picture. This dedication and attention to detail explains my fondness for stills. Mathieu’s sculptures grace the city of Amsterdam and other parts of the Netherlands. It was interesting to see where and how people had positioned a particular sculpture, which sometimes weighed hundreds of kilos. In my quest for the perfect picture, and as I could not move the sculptures because of their great weight, I often returned to the subject several times photographing it from different perspectives. The lighting and time of day was crucial. For one photo I needed sunlight, for another twilight. To capture the most intriguing, emotive and inspiring angle I needed to sometimes crouch low to the ground or climb high on a ladder. One sculpture was shown to its full advantage in a summer setting, while another needed snow.

The ‘good old days’ when I spent hours with my hands in chemicals and long nights in the darkroom creating the best possible photo prints are long gone. That technique is outdated and the necessary materials are increasingly difficult to come by. Based on a longing for the artistry and craftsmanship of bygone days coupled with my fascination for the technique used in Lith printing, which is an ancient English printing method that I came across whilst working as a photographer in London, I digitally transformed some of the photos in this book using this exact method. I admire Mathieu. His work is fascinating especially because it leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination. Working with him during the making of our book was a rewarding experience. I invite you to view my interpretation of Mathieu’s work and hope you enjoy the images. Frank Brandwijk | Amsterdam, december 2010

overview | Information about the work

horse 2008 Oostzaan Azobé wood 176 cm (h)

head 2008

standing figure 1993 Oegstgeest Azobé wood 380 cm (h)


Kopf 2000

tete 1993

Noordwijk Collection artist Rose aurora 270 cm (h)

Bergen Bronze 180 cm (h)

Kariatide 1996

curly head 2001

Geldermalsen Marble 320 cm (h)

Amsterdam Bilinga 140 cm (h)

Bergen Azobé wood 180 cm (h) painting burnt steel, pigments

Azobé wood 201,5 cm (l) 60 cm (h) 55 cm (d)

head 2004

head 1999

Thinking 1997

bridge 1999

Loenen a/d Vecht Azobé wood, black granit 180 cm (h)

Bergen Azobé wood, bluestone 210 cm (h)

Geldermalsen Marble 330 cm (h)

Amsterdam Padoek 510 cm (l)

gold head 2004

dream horse 2000

black head 2002

bridge 1999

Azobé wood Gold leaf gilded 42 cm (h)

Amsterdam Rose aurora total height 170 cm (h)

Amsterdam Padoek, granite 170 cm (h)

Amsterdam Padoek 510 cm (l)

head 2003

standing figure 1993

goldhead 2008

circulo 1 2009

Amsterdam Oak, goldplated gilded 180 cm (h)

Amsterdam Azobé wood 160 cm (h)

fruit off the loom 2008

standing circel 2009

Collection artist Oak, goldplated

Rotterdam Azobé wood 150 cm (h)

Amsterdam Azobé wood 160 cm (h)

Amsterdam Euville 140 cm (h)

amphora 1996

portrait 1994

Entrance Park Endegeest Beauval 320 cm (h)

Bloemendaal Azobé wood, aurora marble 220 cm (h)

Wall piece 1 2009

Thought 2008/2009

Black head 2008

benches 2003

Rotterdam Azobé wood 150 cm (h)

Amsterdam Bilinga 90 cm (h)

Weert Azobé wood 80 cm (h)

Groenlo Granite 100 cm (w) each

octopussy 2010

standing head 2008

Head 2008

waiters 1996

Amsterdam Collection artist Azobé wood 170 cm (w)

Azobé wood 190 cm (h)

Amsterdam harbour Padoek, black granite 170 cm (h)

Groenlo Azobé wood, bluestone 350 cm (h)

Bench 2010

koppen 1995

Hearing 2002

Spfinx 2000

Azobé wood Collection artist

Azobé wood

Amsterdam Afcelia 55 cm (h)

Oegstgeest Marble 320 cm (h)

chickens are worried 2010

Flower head 2008

figure 1988

kariatide 1994

Amsterdam Collection artist Azobé wood 128 cm (h)

Amsterdam Collection artist Oak wood

Amsterdam Rose aurora 220 cm (h)

headlines 2007

on the beach 2005

Thinking 2000

Amsterdam Azobé wood, blue stone


Azobé wood 210 cm (h)

2 portraits 1995

head 2007

The beginning 1990

Silent head 2002-2008

Bloemendaal Basreolocus 200 cm (h) incl. basement

Amsterdam Azobé wood

Amstelveen Marble 270 cm (l)

Kotte Azobé wood, hardstone

rolling forms 2009

Bench 2009

circulo 2009

Collection artist Azobé wood 145 cm (h)

Rotterdam Bilinga 250 cm

Horse 1998 [for children to play]

Amsterdam Collection artist Azobé wood 90 cm (h)

lean on me 2010 Bench Amsterdam Collection artist Azobé wood 200 cm (l) 65 cm (h)

Amsterdam GW L padoek, more then life-size

Amsterdam Artist collection Azobé wood 152 cm (h)

O Editions Sculptures: Mathieu Nab - Pictures: Frank Brandwijk - Photo ‘Portrait Mathieu’: Miep Jukkema - Graphic Design: Michael Kolf - Printing: Lecturis - © 2011 by Mathieu Nab / Frank Brandwijk / all rights reserved

Mathieu Nab - Sculptures  

Artist Book about the work of Mathieu Nab

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