Written by Josée Thissen-Rojer.
Until December 17th, Godelieve Smulders exhibits in Gallery Alma Blou, with the exhibition ‘Moveshon’ (Movement). Godelieve has a playful view of the world, and she shows that in her artworks. Therefore, this exhibition is highly recommended.
Godelieve Smulders was educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the State Academy of Art, both in Amsterdam. She has been visiting Curaçao regularly for 4 years now, and in 2019 a sculpture by Godelieve, titled ‘Giving birth’, is already added to Herman van Bergen’s Cathedral of Thorns.
‘Giving birth’ is made of openwork cardboard that’s reinforced with synthetic resin. It’s a sober image of a squatting woman holding the new life she’s created. At night, when the cathedral is lit up, the light reflects off the sculpture’s white colored resin. This causes its contours to fade, and the resulting shadows give the plastic a mysterious shape.
Godelieve is trained as a sculptor, but she calls herself an all-round artist. In her studio in Amsterdam, she makes drawings, paintings, large installations, and international projects in addition to sculptures. An artist she admires is the versatile Armando (1929-2018) but her personal source of inspiration is vitality, or life force. That’s why her images are not stiff and rigid. In fact, they are figures of people or animals in motion, ‘caught’ mid-action. Just like her statue ‘Giving birth’, in which the woman grabs the head of her baby between her legs. For Godelieve, childbirth is the pinnacle of vitality.
Moveshon in Gallery Alma Blou is Godelieve’s first solo exhibition in Curaçao, but already her seventh exhibition of this year. In the Netherlands, she has already participated in 6 exhibitions during the year, in different cities. Due to the pandemic, many exhibitions were canceled in the Netherlands in 2020. As a result, this year there is a lot of catching up to do in the art galleries.
Moveshon consists of sculptures, paintings and drawings, and the collection is very colorful. Some statues are created in color, and are green, red, or orange. But it’s especially the paintings on the wall in which Godelieve expresses her love for color and contrast. The bright orange of the figures in some of her paintings contrasts sharply with the deep blue of the background. Her ‘cloud paintings’, on the other hand, are created in different shades of blue.
Curaçao fascinates Godelieve above all because of its warm atmosphere, and its clear sky with spectacular clouds. Godelieve likes to look at the clouds. Due to the strong winds, the clouds change shape so quickly that it looks like a movie to her. It’s especially the transformations of clouds that fascinate her so much. She sees all kinds of things happening and often sees human figures in them. The clouds in her paintings are often the two figures lying together and the paintings offer a veiled sensuality. Just like the clouds, people are always in motion and life itself is one big movement. Hence the title of her exhibition, ‘Moveshon’.