On Saturday September 8, Galerie Bart opens solo exhibition ‘A Contagious Affair’ by artist Frode Bolhuis (b. 1979, Enschede NL). Frode’s expressive, colorful figures belong together but at the same time they all are in a world of their own, dancing without taking notice of anyone else, some exuberantly, others quietly with their eyes closed. Whereas their creator drew inspiration for his earlier work from the Middle Ages, this is now the end of the 19th century. ‘A period of new diversions and amazement at a world that is getting bigger and bigger,’ says Bolhuis.

The figures have a typical ‘Bolhuis look’: a characteristic facial expression and often a rather awkward posture. ‘They sometimes say that artists always make self-portraits. I can try to make a different type, but they always end up having a certain softness about them. That’s just in me.’ Even De dood (death), nose and hands coloured with graphite, has something cuddly to it. But his figures are not only soft; they also have an enigmatic quality. Who knows what they are thinking or planning to do? ‘A certain sense of mystery,’ says Frode. ‘That’s also how I see life. We go, but where we are going to is a mystery. I can see that feeling reflected in my work.’

After first making rather roughly finished bronze sculptures, for a while he made stylized sculptures moulded in Acrylic One. Now, working in clay has made his figures a little rougher again; you can almost follow his hand. Whatever material Frode chooses for his sculptures, skin is always very important. In his two-dimensional work, fine knife cuts and three-dimensional elements form reliefs – even when using materials that are less usual for him, such as canvas or paper, he remains a sculptor. Each piece in the exhibition contributes to the greater whole, to give visitors a complete experience.