Both place reality in a framework. And in the selection they have a shared predilection that you could call a common theme: that is the question of what change is.
For van Hoef, that is the fascination for metamorphosis, the slow, sometimes sudden, transformation of a place. He named the exhibition and catalog of 2003 Genius Loci, the spirit or nature of the place: it is true that things can change at or in one place, but there remains a certain kind of presence. Shadows often appear in his paintings, which, if you look at them, give the impression of the moment and at the same time suggest a standstill of time, the time is frozen in it or solidifies. But shadows do not stand still, they are on the contrary very temporary, shadows literally change within a minute. The gardens, the fragments or the cut-outs of a built-up environment or a landscape, all of them frozen are at least silent, almost immobile. The experience of time or its absence is his theme.
Theo Derksen shares with Marcel the fascination for change. He travels a lot, his photography bears witness to that. Yet his photography is not a documentary travel report. It is wonder. Not the surprise of the tourist "look at something weird, very different from us", but the wonder of a child who sees and does not attach a meaning to it, but who is already looking very lightly wondering what this may be and continues to do without giving an equal answer. The child has the wondered look.
We see people in Derksen's photography in situations that are not specific to one specific place. You do not know what or where it is. And even on closer inspection, an unambiguous meaning is to be expected. The effect is that you keep looking. Like a child. That is how Theo Derksen looks. He looks as if he is traveling, even when he is at home. It is an art to live as if one is always traveling. Meanings are not fixed, but shift. They change over time, but also by changing places, by traveling. Opening yourself up to a world in which meanings change, that seems to be what Derksen poses to himself and the viewer. The combination, I would like to say the combination, with the painting of Marcel van Hoef reinforces the searching and questioning character of his photography.
Drs. R. Hoekstra, Curator Museum Roermond