Between Myth and Reality
His life has been devoted to the creation of art. Be it stained-glass windows, fountains, drawings, sculptures or the water mill he converted into his home, he works with enormous passion and attains exceptional quality in everything he does. For years he has been working modestly and in the relative peace and quiet of his very own paradise – its core the old water mill, with Celestine’s wild garden around it – on an oeuvre of hundreds of sculptures, which seem to have naturally blended into this setting. Their undisguised physicality seems to bear a direct connection with the hard work and the direct contact with earth and clay to which Joep is so attached.
‘Between Myth and Reality’ alludes to the duality in his work: the relationship between the story (mythology) and the figurative representation of man and beast. In his essay ‘The Ultimate Dancer’ Ridsert Hoekstra makes a connection between these two basic ideas. He describes how Joep Nicolas van Ronkenstein’s interpretation of mythology has evolved over the years from literal Greek myths to a mythology or magic of his own creation and finally to the latest phase, in which the unmasked, dancing human figure predominates.
Painter and friend Tobey Stevens, former colleague and sculptor Henk Verbeek and his niece, the writer Claire Nicolas-White, also discuss their relationship with Joep.
In addition to all this, this retrospective is an homage from three sons to their father, who with his work and his very being has also laid the foundation for their own professions: Daniel the photographer, Alan the artist/teacher and Christian the architect.
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