Taking Off

Taking Off

When our friends at Gallery Color introduced us to the work of Mattijn Franssen a year ago, we had some trouble believing that we hadn’t heard of him before. His vast body of work shows continuous innovation, immense diversity and invited us into a world that knows no bounds, where everything can be anything. NMAG first exhibited him during the Fall exhibition in Copenhagen and in Cape Town for the seventh international pop-up gallery. His work received a great response in reviews, visitor comments and art sales. Back in Amsterdam, we figured it was time to properly present his work to the Netherlands in a solo exhibition. It’s the day before the opening, and we just caught up with Mattijn about his process and the world he creates.

Settling Down

Settling Down

Wherever Mattijn goes, he takes his camera with him. ‘I often go around with my camera, taking random pictures of anything- a nice tree, a door, some steps… Later, I paste the elements together on my computer to create a collage. Sometimes the process is also reverse, such as with the montages ‘Taking off’ or Settling down’. In these cases, I had a specific scenario in my head, which I wanted to re-create. Based on a rough sketch of the image, I then set out to find the parts I needed.. I must say that over the years I have grown so used to the medium that now, already while taking pictures, I’m pasting things together in my mind.’

Unexpected Visitors

Unexpected Visitors

Franssen depicts lush landscapes, adventures with the animal kingdom and journeys with impossible creatures. The protagonists in his works are both himself and a loyal companion Pino, his now 22 year-old cat. ‘The elements in my images are things I have experienced; therefore I like placing myself into the final images. Doing so helps indicate the dimensions in the imagined world and also allows me to play with them.  After all, nobody knows my true size or the size of the object. By simply changing the size of my own human figure, I can decide how big or small something is. Placing myself in my works also gives them a human element, which I find very important. This creates a link to human reality and to viewers.

Roadside Attraction

Roadside Attraction

By the way, I use my cat in a similar way. Look out for him, he can be found in many of my photomontages.’

I was once asked if the place in one of my photomontages was real. The elements themselves indeed are real, they are all places or objects I have visited and seen. This includes the animals, which I photographed in the Dierenpark Amersfoort.

Welkom in Hilversum

Welkom in Hilversum

Sometimes I play with them, like in ‘Settling down’ where I substituted a monkey’s head with that of a crow (the monkey’s real head was turned away). I also play with the dimensions, such as the flock of tiny sheep at the bottom of the image. It’s kind of silly I know, but also a subtle way to call attention to the ‘unreality’ of what you see.

What fascinates me is the power and ability that photomontage gives me to create a world the way I imagine it, a place I’d like to hang out in. When I was young for example, I often fantasized about what it would be like if there were hills in my hometown Hilversum, which is very flat. Today, I have made this idea come to life in one of my montages, by simply pasting hills from somewhere else behind Hilversum. sign.

Late

Late

People often mention the term surrealism, and of course my images have surrealist elements. However, I see my works more related to magic realism, and am strongly inspired by the Dutch painter Carel Willink for example.
Growing up I had these books with different painters, and he was my favourite. Though I do feel the human element is missing in his paintings, I hope to be able to say that I am continuing in his footsteps. If Willink would have lived in the 21st century, I think he would have loved Photoshop too.

I think it’s a good moment to host this show, and I’m looking forward to being able to share the many worlds I’ve produced over the past ten years.

 

Check out more works by Mattijn here.


Mattijn Franssen Solo
‘Taking Off’

Vernissage
17.10 | 7 – 10 PM
8 PM | Q&A with Mattijn

Exhibition
18.10 – 30.11
Weekends and by appointment
11 AM – 6 PM

No Man’s Art Gallery
Nieuwe Herengracht 119
1011SB Amsterdam

Join us for the opening!

Interested in purchasing one of Mattijn’s works? Contact us and we’ll send you the collectors catalogue.

OPEN DURING MUSEUMNACHT 1/11, 19H – 2H | No Man’s Art Gallery is presenting a decade of work by Dutch artist Mattijn Franssen, including his most recent photomontages, animated videos and paintings.