Abu Kikan with Frayo, Asaba, Nigeria, 2007 kopieHerman Vaanholt, BBA alumnus (19801117), really got a taste for art after he had sold his company. “My interest accelerated rapidly. I didn’t only go in search of something attractive for on the wall or in the garden. I also learnt to look at things in a very different way, my preference being for artworks with a twist. Pieter Hugo’s photos are like that. I encountered his work at Galerie Cokkie Snoei when I had returned from a time in Nigeria for Doctors without Borders. As it happened, I had actually met Hyena men out there.”

Vaanholt was struck by the metaphoric impression of Pieter Hugo’s pictures, emphasized by his sparing use of colour. In 2011 Herman Vaanholt travelled in Ghana and later recognized a similar metaphoric approach in Hugo’s ‘Permanent Error’ series, in which he had photographed people and landscapes in an extensive dump of obsolete technology near Accra in Ghana.

Herman is, in fact, an omnivore of expressionist art, yet he allows himself to be guided/won over by the more profound levels which an artist succeeds in presenting in an artwork. It makes no difference whether it’s a piece of sculpture, a painting or a photo. Exuberantly big or atmospherically small – his home has space enough to accommodate large(-scale) work. Just think of sculptures by Keith Haring or the Spaniard Manolo Valdes. (see photo) Both representatives of the Pop Art movement.

He not only collects work by artists who have made it, but by young artists as well. He recently enhanced his collection with two works by the young German artist, Philipp Fürhofer. “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to visit numerous fairs and exhibitions. You always get new impressions and see a good deal of work by artists who, for you, are still unknown and/or young. Fürhofer’s works are innovative and overwhelming, literally and figuratively. For instance, he designed the sets for a major German opera.”

Kunst_VaanholtHerman’s neighbour is Mr. Punch by the Dutch artist Mitsy Groenendijk. A monkey made in papier-mâché with acrylic paint and real human hair. The first impression is of a cute monkey, but on closer inspection the creature has countless negative features: big ears, elongated arms, unnatural feet and, in particular, piercing eyes.

In the background, the painting ‘A head’ by the painter and poet, Lucebert. Cheerful colours, but not a face with a particularly friendly or explicit impact. And, one might ask oneself, is it an animal or merely an eye?

On Herman’s left, an accomplished photo by the Italian photographer, Massimo Vitali: Cabo Frio White. It suggests a winter sports scene, yet you soon realize everyone has a summery look. The location is not easy to identify, but Cabo Frio White proves to be in Brazil, with its white beaches, photographed from a higher viewing point. To that end, the photographer built a 5 to 10-metre high platform and waited patiently until he had become part of the scene before discreetly taking his photographs.. If you look at the photo for long time you will discover more and more figures and surprising vignettes.

CATALOGUS  AFN 01 – Herman Vaanholt