Art in the Library: Spring & Fall 2021

Marcel van Eeden, Carl Hammoud, John Kleckner, Alexandra Zuckerman
May 7, 2021 - April 29, 2022

During 2021, drawings from the Magasin III Collection are presented in the museum reference library, by the artists Marcel van Eeden, Carl Hammoud, John Kleckner, and Alexandra Zuckerman.

Since 1993, Marcel van Eeden makes at least one drawing a day, following a number of self-imposed rules. The paper is cut by hand after which he fills the image diagonally, starting in the upper left corner. The most crucial aspect of his method of regulation is the decision to base his work solely on found images and texts that predate his birth, November 22, 1965. Van Eeden uses photographs, postcards, posters, ads, newspaper clippings, and pictures from books, then adds text that is rarely from the same source as the original image. The result is mainly monochrome, almost photo-realist drawings, stylistically reminiscent of film noir and graphic novels. Together they form an ever-changing, continuous narrative. Through his use of material that predates his own existence, and by creating semi-fictional protagonists and events, van Eeden questions the authenticity of autobiography and offers a highly personal perspective on history.

Carl Hammoud’s practice spans painting, drawing, and sculpture. He works with various mediums in parallel, clearly dividing his work days. In the morning he focuses on text, drawing, as well as paper and cardboard objects. He spends his afternoons on the more physically demanding work that his painting involves. The motifs in Hammoud’s drawings are often lit with great care and detail. They appear recognizable and mundane, while also loaded with a touch of surrealism, as well as melancholia on the boundary between memory and fiction. In the drawings presented here, various tools and actions for seeing and investigating appear. Our perception, the book, the science of knowledge (epistemology), and the human body are the subject of close scrutiny.

John Kleckner’s meticulous drawings often revolve around the human body, human relations, and their finite qualities. While he was a student, Kleckner worked in the art department of a bookstore. A book containing works on paper by the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) hugely influenced Kleckner’s visual language. The motifs in Beuys’ early drawings often show a mix of animals, human figures, and nature, where nature also is present through the use of beeswax and fat on the paper. Kleckner’s practice blends influences from art history with references from pop and hippie culture. A recurring motif is humans or isolated body parts in the process of becoming one with nature and transforming into organic forms, or completely dissolving into physical conditions that are inexplicable to us. It remains unclear if we are witnessing the result of an act of violence or a dreamlike hallucinatory scene. 

Alexandra Zuckerman’s works are rooted in memories of the Russia of her childhood, medieval engravings, and Eastern European stories and illustrations. Her drawings are the result of a slow and careful process of gradually applying layers. Densely drawn lines form dark surfaces and details, while the lighter areas incorporate bare paper as part of the image. The drawings from 2012/ 2013 are part of a series of nocturnal, surrealist scenes in which the moon and cavities such as doors and windows are recurring motifs. There are no clear stories to decipher – rather Zuckerman creates suggestive imagery to trigger the imagination.

Carl Hammoud’s works Focus (2013), Scope (2010), Epistemology (2010), Metamorphosis (2009), and The Bridge (2010) were on view from May 2021. In August of the same year, his work Evidence of Absence (2021) was added to the exhibition.

John Kleckner’s three works, all Untitled (2006) were on view until July 2022.