2022. 10. 9 Sun - 11. 6 Sun

Enchantment of Daan van Golden

Kentaro Ichihara

Just by having a fleeting glance at Daan van Golden’s representative pieces, you should not jump to a hasty judgment that they represent certain designs or patterns of textiles or wallpapers or wrapping papers. It is also important, though, to keep such a viewpoint within yourself, secretly. Now the question is: how is his work similar to and different from the designs of old-time department store wallpapers? In other words, in what respects do they resemble and not resemble each other?

The conclusion is that there is no difference between them. However, they are different entirely at the same time. Thus, you cannot say in what respects they resemble or do not resemble each other. What exactly does this mean? Daan van Golden, with his work, is not only the founder of simulacra (signs that seem to resemble something but actually do not resemble anything) but also an artist who succeeded in suspending resemblance/non-resemblance and elevated it to the ultimate degree (signs that nobody can say resemble or do not resemble anything). In short, he is on par with the Baroque genius Caravaggio, as an artist who has the honorable privilege of being both the founder and consummator of a certain paradigm of artistic expression. In the case of van Golden, the paradigm in question was the postmodern.

Nevertheless, he would not be happy about having this honor. Because he was simply playing around with resemblance and enjoying its suspension.After van Golden essentially reached a milestone of simulacra in the 1960s, the so-called postmodern art, as if following his trail, flourished by wielding the concept of simulacra as its weapons. But over the course, somewhere along the line, it became completely disoriented and fell into decay, while it was only halfway through.

The fact that there was an artist who fully enforced simulacra and realized their utmost manifestation prior to the postmodern, must be more than enough to disgrace postmodernism. Van Golden is the one and only artist who took simulacra to their highest limits.
Paradoxically, by the way, when reaching their utmost state, simulacra evaporate and vanish. It is the left-behind, slight glowing embers that then turn into art that radiates unfathomable enchantment. And for van Golden, it was a pure play. The affect brought about by this play has supremely adorable lightness and that is the very stigma that is consistent throughout his entire oeuvre.