Don’t be misled by the sweet pictures in pretty colours, for we’re dealing with a radical artist here. This anarchist in angel’s clothing contravenes a number of contemporary art’s unwritten laws. Gijs Frieling is a standard-bearer for ornament and decoration and he embraces exuberance. His representations are not minimal but maximal, as full as can be, and there’s always room for an extra flower. Gijs couldn’t care less about the concepts of novelty and originality; on the contrary, he wants to work as unadventurously and predictably as possible. His paintings are jam-packed with repetition and he often falls back on the same elements. Also, he copies to his heart’s delight – his own work and that of others, in versions that are painted (on glass) or embroidered (by his mother) and the distinction between the copy and the original doesn’t interest him in the slightest. Moreover, his work is not critical but it is pleasing, it is incredibly beautiful, and on top of this he is a Christian.
This book contains 10 visual essays photographed by Johannes Schwartz and conversations with the patrons of commissioned murals in private collections by Hanne Hagenaars:
“The patrons who speak in this book are the brave among art buyers: their walls bear a mural by Gijs Frieling, and that’s not something you can put away, or put into storage, turn to face the wall or sell. Painting over it is a possibility but if you have finally decided to enter into this commitment, moving house seems like a more realistic way of escaping from the work than a white coat of paint on top of it. But not a single owner that I spoke to is tired of the artwork; on the contrary. It seems that the whole ritual of deciding, discussing and allowing the artist into your house changes your position as a buyer: the patron is no longer a consumer but an accomplice.”