Harm van den Berg (1970) is an artist who lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He received his BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 1996. He has performed at different venues including museum The Paviljoens in Almere (NL), Zoo Gallery, Nantes (FR), Galeria Klovicevi, Zagreb (HR) and the Crossing Border Festival, Amsterdam (NL). His work has been exhibited at venues including Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Goethe Institute Amsterdam, Netherlands Media Art Institute, W139, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, De Voorkamer, Lier (B) and AC Institute, New York City (USA). He has received grants from the Mondrian Fund and Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.
Harm van den Berg investigates the concepts of nature, landscape, space and scale in a multidisciplinary manner. In addition to painting and drawing, he constructs spaces and landscapes in sound. In his work he questions the experience of space and location, and the friction between nature and culture. He writes the following:
Space and location
For me art is connected with the experience of space and location. In my work I try to give the viewer a 'sense of place'. This can happen in the pictorial space of a painting or auditive space of an sound installation, but it can also relate to the place where the viewer actually is (mostly: the exhibition space). In a more abstract sense it is about a mental space. The experience of space is layered and often ambiguous. Bianca Stigter expressed this as follows:
"The visual idiom of Cubism was left behind in the early twentieth century, but its ideas are still with us. You could describe Harm van den Berg’s Garden Party as a cubist painting. Time and space can hide away in a painting; they can multiply, divide, dissolve. Stay." (From a Painter's Perspective, p. 80)
Nature and culture
Nature is an important motif in my work, which is closely related to the interest in space. Nature does not interest me so much in pure form, but where it intertwines with culture. Jurriaan Benschop wrote about this in the following passage:
"The work of Harm van den Berg normally relates in some respect to nature. It may be a landscape setting or a floral motif, both painted with aesthetic gusto. Yet a disruptive force intrudes, ruining the natural quality or undermining the romanticism. The experience of nature has a duality here: on the one hand it is admiring and aesthetic, but on the other quite the opposite. Playing a part in all this is the partly defined character of the scenes. As much remains out of the picture, still unstated or over painted, as is filled in or established as a subject. It is this indefiniteness that makes room for the friction which, to me, is the actual content of the work." (From a Painter's Perspective, p. 3).
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