Over het werk van Jack Reubsaet

Een tekst door Alexander van Grevenstein

De ware kunstenaar is een knutselaar. Hij is het tegendeel van de vandaag zo alom geprezen professional. De knutselaar is een ontdekkingsreiziger. Het zit hem in de omgang met het onbekende.  De professional daarentegen is verknocht aan het bekende. Aanlanden op een nieuw continent is als het schuiven en schikken van (beeld) fragmenten, die omzichtig naar een nieuwe samenhang worden geleid. De ontdekkingsreiziger verdeelt zijn mannen om het eiland te verkennen, de knutselaar probeert alle combinaties uit, vooraleer hij een samenhang ziet. Beide ‘methoden’ leiden uiteindelijk tot iets nieuws. Het feit dat die aan het onbekende moet worden onttrokken, schrikt hen niet af, integendeel. De geringe mate van houvast, zou de professional volledig uit zijn evenwicht brengen, niet de oprechte knutselaar. In antropologische termen bedrijft hij de wetenschap van het concrete en associeert er lustig op los. Niettemin, de eigendomsverhoudingen in dit proces zijn er niet minder dwingend en dictatoriaal om. Zoals de in bezit name van nieuw grondgebied met geweld en bloedvergieten gepaard gaat, zo sneuvelen in het knutselen talloze heilige huisjes door het openbreken van harmonie en oud centraal gedirigeerd gezag.

In het slagveld van scherven en fragmenten, heersen andere wetten. Het is een wereld van tijdelijke coalities. Het is behelpen. Toch, de ontdekkingsreiziger/ knutselaar zal zijn stempel willen drukken, vooraleer het zand onverhoopt weer onder zijn voeten verdwijnt. Dat moet ten alle tijden worden voorkomen, want er zijn vele kapers op de kust, die klaar staan om het nieuwe gebied te claimen.Knutselaars zijn de engelen van het ongewisse, en tevens de wrede alleenheersers van hun vluchtige koninkrijk. Ze stappen steeds opnieuw in nieuwe avonturen, die naar een volledig nieuwe horizon leiden. Zie alleen al de oude waarden die beelden en schilderijen zo veel gewicht geven, ze worden ingeruild voor piepschuim en platte ‘lichtgevende’ verfstreken. Wanneer eeuwigheid wordt ingeruild voor fragiliteit en tijdelijkheid, dan is de beer los. Wanneer spel en fictie het vervolgens ook nog van de werkelijkheid winnen, dan zijn zelfs de aloude fundamenten niet meer zichtbaar. Dan is de kunst als een zwierige olifant, met een roze rokje aan, die een dansje waagt op het opgepoetste podium van de schone schijn. Dan is het spel echt begonnen.

Jack Reubsaet 2014

Excerpt Text from the Exhibition Catalogue “Limburgs Finest #2”. Catalogue text by Drs. Rick Vercauteren, 2014.

With the wall-installation “Spice of Life” (acquired in 2007)  it is allowed by it’s enthusiastic maker to freely experiment with it’s shape and size. Selections from the total of 136 artworks, which together form a powerful artistic pantheon, can on every occasion be adapted to the available space. This Gesamtkunstwerk from Jack Reubsaet, who with severity and fancy quotes from (art)history, erotica, movies, music, advertising and the world of comics, is literally and figuratively organic. The great variety in subject matter & styles makes it possible to put different accents on the widely different views which contain this nuanced and unexpected whole. At the same time the viewer realises, mainly because of the characteristic handwriting and recognisable, sometimes poisonous colour choice, that this variegated, artistic production is conceived by one and the same person.

At times Jack Reubsaet does not dread to mercilessly take a poke at himself or to otherwise project his persona larger than life; For better or for worse. For example, in a drawing without title taken from the “Spice of Life”, the young artists is displayed, as the contradictory text on the drawing implies, as innerly struggling warrior. The Protagonist is standing with a relative big and drawn sword, shining in the sun, very close to the drawing’s edge. The in black, white and grey portrayed largely cut-off character strongly contrasts the blood-red sky with a white-hot sun that would not look out of place in a Van Gogh. Shall the love ultimately overtrump the violence or will the blood forever stay on the hands?

Van Bommel van Dam Award 2007

Jury Rapport

The winner of the Van Bommel Van Dam Award 2007 (13th edition) is Jack Reubsaet (Sittard,1976). According to the jury, the subversive and monumental installation in mixed media is a work that, quoted from art-history and popular culture, in it´s overwhelming scale en fierceness continuously poses questions to the viewer about his own relation to the subject matter.

The jury presents this award to this tremendous flow of images, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts, where the limits of art are tested and where boldly and rudely is experimented with what art could or could not be…It keeps turning and twisting, you cant´t stop looking and you can´t stop discovering. When this jury awoke from this knock-out, the winner was evident.


Odapark Venray 2006

“I Love the flesh, but I love the light better”

A review by Ruud Lammerink, Art Historian.

The Odapark consists of a park filled with artworks, and a main building with two exhibiton spaces. Artist Jack Reubsaet has lived and worked here for two months to work on a huge wallpainting. During this time it has been open to the public, but after a month of completion it will allready be painted over. It is an impressive work with great vitality. The spaceships of Darth Vader from Star Wars fly overhead, a vallient hero rises apposed to a virgin beauty. Reubsaet does not shy away from big gestures. Contrary, the work stays personal but at the same is of a great pathos. It’s about the choices of life, about what you take with you in your grave. In his work he uses old and new mythology, he is a product of the times. The almighty father appears next to the before mentioned spaceship. The visual language seems to have been borrowed from comics, but the end result is more than just fantasy, his striving for content is sincere; he believes in that what he paints!

In the other room of the Odapark his drawings are exhibited which are the forework of his wallpainting. They work as pages from an intimate dairy. Beautyfull drawn with unexpected medium, a colourmarker. Reubsaet is a wild youth; he draws what he thinks. Pretty girls with shapely bottoms display his erotic desires, a portrait of Adolf Hitler his discontempt. Among the images that are played out are a swastika and various Pokemon, but also but also for example visual symbolism from Christian faith. Eventhough these trodden paths, he gives them a very personal dimension. Above all he is a master draftsman who knows what he is doing. Despite screaming colours he knows the qaulity of empty space. Sometimes he shows a lot, sometimes he show little, but the content is always more then just an image.

Back to the wallpainting. In a corner there is collage of all the things he loves. A cut out picture with a very beautyful lady is for him the prettiest woman he ever saw. Next to that a drawing of Michealangelo, breasts in lavish pink lingerie, Carrevaggio’s David with the capitated head of Goliath, the artist’s father in his living room, friends at a barbecue, Van Gogh’s bedroom. This personal antholgy is juxtaposed to a painting of the artist’s own gravestone next to it. Like said before he does not shy away from great pathos. But he also puts all that in to perspective; Exactly here in this fairylike dance towards his own downfall the wall itself is destroyed so that it becomes visable to the viewer that all this is just paint on styrofoam.

Despite the first impressions of chaos, there is order to the wallpainting. All the images are in relation to each other, as part of a bigger whole. The isolated virgin without a indentity in a bright red dress is mirrored in the shiny surface of the giant sword behind the anti-hero on the opposed wall. He rises on a pile of skulls  in midst of making a choice. Allegorically visualized to his left and right. Above the word “Love “ rises in blue the word “I” wherein the portrait of the artist making his choice is repeated. This again then mirriors the other “I” on the other side of the wallpainting in which the before mentioned grave is painted. Heavenly or earthly love seems to be the choice…The work of Jack Reubsaet is about desire, desire to stay true to oneself, true to one’s dreams but also true to ones own morality. He is a artist with a big heart that let’s everything in.



Buning Brongers Award 2006

Jury rapport (door Alied Ottevanger)

Fire red hearts, anchors surrounded with ropes and big knives dripping with blood. As a tattoo these images are instantly clear: this is what the tattooed person stands for. This is what he likes  and with it he distinguishes himself. The comic book has the same kind of directness. A closed fist three times as big that bursts out of the page, a muscled torso crowned by a handsome head posed with a beautiful knock-out that almost is bursting out of her blouse: we know exactly what is meant by this. As little drawing on the chest or arm of a person we accept it easily and they belong to ordinary everyday life.

But when these visceral and inflated images are sown together, blended together with the background and start to occupy whole spaces and rooms, something else is happening. Then a hidden world comes to the surface. Then something unstoppable comes to life that is tremendous deliciously drawn and disarming in it’s directness. It becomes a maelstrom of images that either pushes you back or draws you in. But we are never fully embraced by this artist: It’s always art with a high “Fuck-you” mentality.

Gilbert de Bontridder Award 2004

Jury rapport

The work of Jack Reubsaet continues an old tradition that for centuries has been the painting of the whole room. Classical themes are intertwined with influences of contemporary culture. The wallpaintings of Jack Reubsaet are clearly a result of a long working period in the specific space. The layers that are conceived through this lengthy process of labour are very visible to the viewer. The jury appreciates, apart from the conceptual and art-historical qualities, the huge dynamic that speaks directly to the viewer.