With the exhibition 'Wanderlust', the Kunsthal will showcase the work of the winner of the Sacha Tanja Penning art award 2017: Koen Vermeule. His work has stamped its own unique mark on Dutch contemporary figurative art. Apart from the medal, the artist will be awarded a € 10,000 cash prize, made available by ING, and an exhibition at the Kunsthal Rotterdam.

Koen Vermeule paints high-contrast landscapes; empty, quintessentially Dutch landscapes. He also depicts people, sometimes together, more often alone. Immersed in their mobile phones or stretched out on the floor, these individuals convey a contemporary type of loneliness and have been captured while quietly residing in an indefinable, although usually recognizable, environment.

Vermeule prefers extraordinary weather conditions, such as the moment the sun has reached its zenith and shines most intensely, or the moment right before it sets and casts the longest shadows. And also the moment right after the rain has stopped, when the streets are still wet and people are just starting to move on. To the spectator it seems as if he is able to make time stand still for a little while. His work calls for reflection and contemplation. On the occasion of Koen Vermeule winning the Sacha Tanja Penning, the Kunsthal will present over thirty works in a large retrospective covering his oeuvre.

After first studying at TeHaTex in Tilburg, Koen Vermeule graduated from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 1992. Shortly after his studies he joined the gallery Art & Project in Amsterdam and received the Charlotte Köhler Prize, a yearly incentive award for young talent in the fields of visual art and theatre. Since 1998 he has been working as a guest teacher at various art academies including the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, the Minerva Art Academy Groningen and, for the past four years as teacher of Painting at the AKI ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design in Enschede. Vermeule’s work is often exhibited both at home and abroad and is followed by many collectors.