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Film about René Daniëls in De Pont

Until 1 May 2022, a film that Erik van Lieshout made about René Daniëls (Eindhoven, 1950) can be seen in museum De Pont in Tilburg (The Netherlands). Daniëls is one of the most important Dutch painters of the second half of the twentieth century. In 1987, his career was abruptly interrupted by a brain haemorrhage from which he never fully recovered. Only twenty years later, Daniëls started painting again.

Quest for dialogue
Erik van Lieshout (Deurne, 1968) usually makes provocative videos and drawings in which he directly examines art, socio-political subjects and himself. When Daniëls received the Cultuurprijs from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Noord-Brabant in 2019, Van Lieshout got the idea to portray him in a film. He made a penetrating, cheerful but also modest artist’s portrait. A film about being an artist, but also a quest for dialogue with someone with whom you cannot have a spoken exchange and in which facial expressions and ‘yes’ and ‘no’ take on an intense charge.

Van Lieshout followed Daniëls for over a year for the portrait. He visited him at home, including on his 70th birthday, they took trips such as to Nuenen (Van Gogh’s hometown for some years) and visited De Pont, where work by Daniëls hangs. Naturally, the significance of Daniëls’ early work, which breathed new life into painting that had been declared dead in the late 1970s, is discussed. Just as his position as a renowned international artist. But the emphasis is on the now and on the surrender to art, in which Daniëls’ word and image jokes alternate with Van Lieshout’s direct and often slapstick humour – although the latter remains conspicuously in the background in this portrait.

René Daniëls en Erik van Lieshout

René Daniëls (l) and Erik van Lieshout
foto Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen

Real Van Lieshouts
In an effort to better understand Daniels’ work, Van Lieshout made copies of Daniels’ best-known works during the filming process. Being rough, schmutzig, and constructed from coloured vinyl, they are of course real Van Lieshouts. But they do bring him to the essence of Daniels’ painting.

The film ‘René Daniëls’ is shown in the project space WOOL of De Pont and starts every day on the hour. The film lasts about 50 minutes.
The address of museum De Pont: Wilhelminapark 1, Tilburg.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-17:00. Free admission on Thursdays from 17:00 to 21:00 (from 24 February).
T +31 (0)13 543 83 00