Willem Weismann

b. 1977, Netherlands. Lives and works in London, UK


Willem Weismann
Willem Weismann, Reading about writing, 2014


Willem Weismann explores the possibility of paintings acting as ‘information systems’ and stores of meaning. His work explicitly makes connections to other forms of archives, both physical and virtual: the memories we carry in our heads, libraries of books, vast online stores of data, and the stratified layers of history beneath our pavements and soil. The surfaces of Weismann’s paintings make evident his active efforts to make sense of a world in flux. His Burnt book series from 2014 came from an urge to make a representation of something shocking and traumatic, yet to do so with subtlety. For a year Weismann only painted with burnt coal black, testing out the legibility of the photographic or digital image reproduction of the works he created, and pointing to his own preference for his art to be experienced in the flesh. His subsequent works, Reading about painting and Reading about writing feature characters with their faces obscured and pressed up against the pages of books. Although the titles of these paintings suggest people seeking a deeper connection to something, the works can also be read as a heartfelt tribute to the act of getting lost in art, or being absorbed in thinking about art.