Work Story: The Dutch Flag

This painting of 1995 has been re-stretched by art-dealer Neo in Roermond (Netherlands).
Kim Engelen, Dutch Flag-Frits Watching TV, 9 Oil Paintings, 1995


The Dutch Flag is a large art piece. I created it in 1995 while studying at the Art Academy in the Netherlands.

This is only photographic documentation left, showing how the art piece looked like while it was installed.—How it was hanging together on the wall how I intended it to be. 

Nine Paintings

The complete art piece consisted of nine panels. All nine were oil paintings on self-prepared canvas. 

Together they formed the Dutch Flag, a horizontal tricolor of red, white, and blue. 

In the art piece, the most left, and right top panels (paintings 1 and 3) were painted red. The exterior middle planes (paintings 4 and 6) were white. And the bottom outer paintings (paintings number 7 and 9) were painted blue

In the middle (2, 5, 7) were from top to bottom: 
Frits watching TV (Red-Feyenoord).
Frits watching TV (White).
Frits watching TV (Blue)

In all these three middle paintings—as the title already reveals, you can see the protagonist Frits, watching TV. It is the same character sitting and watching TV.

Kim Engelen, Owner Frits holding Painting, Frits Watching TV (Red-Feyenoord), 1995

Frits Watching TV (Red)

Frits, a young caucasian male of around 23 years, is watching television with a bottle of beer in his hands. You can see the blue glow of the TV shining on him. 

Kim Engelen, Frits (Red-Feyenoord), Oil Painting, Detail Face, 1995

We can’t see what he is watching on TV. But we can see in the background of the painting the Feyenoord logo. Perhaps indicating he is watching a football match. 

Except for this painting, which has been re-stretched in September 2021, for the current owner, all the other eight paintings of the art piece the Dutch Flag don’t exist anymore.

The painting is now, 26 years later, owned by Frits, the person depicted in the art piece.  

Kim Engelen, Frits Watching TV (Red/Feyenoord), Oil Painting, 1995

Frits Watching TV (White)

The middle painting of the Dutch Flag art piece had no background. Here you have to imagine what he is watching or if he is watching TV at all.

Kim Engelen, Frits Watching TV (White), Oil Painting, 1995

Frits Watching TV (Blue)

And Frits (Blue) had in the blue painted background an African famine struck mother with child. To me, I suffer more when I see the suffering of other people. Then when I see someone not scoring a goal. 

But TV is also a funny thing, maybe while watching, for example, the news you have to shut yourself in a way off since you can not handle or take in all the suffering.

Kim Engelen, Frits Watching TV (Blue), Oil Painting, 1995


The art piece The Dutch Flag was an experimental-ish work. And a direct comment on Dutch culture. It started with the painting that (by chance) has survived it, Frits Watching TV (Red/Feyenoord). 

But perhaps not only Dutch culture, since football is big business. My comment was on the fact that it is so massively followed and consumed and with extreme emotion. And I felt then I was not allowed to not like football. Since how can you NOT like football? Everybody loves football. 

Sex & Beer

How can you not like sex? Everybody loves sex. Or how can you not like beer? Or how can you not like… (fill in the dots). Everybody likes …. (fill in the dots). In other words, how can you not like what the majority likes? And therefore, I then dislike you. Or at least that is the vibe I then experienced and hindered me, to feel free. To be and know who am I and what do I like?

Kim Engelen, Frits Watching TV (Red -Feyenoord), Framed Oil Painting, Detail Holding a bottle of Beer, 1995


And on the other side. I was doing art, so how could I depict Feyenoord, something related to the plebs? People seem to like to box themselves in. Perfect to me for an art piece showing the Dutch flag. Nicely exact ordered in horizontal red, white and blue stripes. 

Yet then again, in a handprinted oil painting, the reds, the blue’s, and the whites are not the same. There are gradations and unevenness in the panels. So even the demarked red/whites/blue colors are not all the same. It is not all that perfectly exact neither. 

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