On the occasion of a fortuitous visit to the Secret Retreat of Gerard Reve.
Painting is, first and foremost, about choosing an image. In this choice of image, a particular atmosphere is evoked. This atmosphere however (in concrete terms, the presence of the occupant) was absent, except to the artists. They find him very much present in his concealed absence. In their work, Reniere&Depla recreate the presence of the resident, long since gone. They take the room through a subjective transformation: from emotion to representation. In this way objects and place are granted a charged quality that is merely fictitious, but the artists do find a way to engage with the original room. The image is given something of a timeless character, draped over the imagined world like a melancholy veil.
Locus amoenus is a coincidence in all this, a twist of fate, a defiance of bad taste, an excuse for reality. Some images are still, they trace his skin, coax out his smell, describe his language and linger around his absence. Their language spoken, Reniere&Depla too stand as onlookers before the image, gazing at this self-created presence within his ‘absence’.