5 Questions to Esther Tielemans - ART FIX

5 Questions to Esther Tielemans

Some said "Don't Look Up" in 2022, but Dutch artist Esther Tielemans did exactly that, with a vengeance!

For the second half of 2022, her vibrant works decorated the walls of the renowned Kröller-Müller Museum. Her show, “Ask the Sky”, stood in conversation with the characterful landscape and light that surrounds the museum. Simultaneously, her works were able to be seen at the prestigious exhibition “Mondrian Moves” at the Kunstmuseum in The Hague. These shows come off the back of an impressive career, kickstarted at the St. Joost Academy in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Rijksacademy in Amsterdam, and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. We sit down with Tielemans to tell us a little more about herself, and to understand what exactly she’s asking the sky.

1.  You used to paint traditional landscapes, now you paint a new version of landscape. Imagine you had to paint just one more landscape for the rest of your life, what would it look like?

In my earlier work, the landscape was indeed recognizable, whereas now I am more concerned with the experience of a landscape.
What a good question, I sometimes fantasize about working only from one image, as Cezanne did with the Mont Sainte-Victoire. I think I would choose a mountain lake scenery.


2. Can you tell us the story behind the “Mirrored Light” artwork series?

The “Mirrored Light” works originate from a series of objects, called “The in Between” from 2018. These works are built as unfolded columns, where the painted part is mirrored in the monochrome surface. As with a Rorschach stain, the image is mirrored, into two sides that echo each other.


In the “Mirrored Light” paintings, this doesn’t come from folding, but instead is literally painted. The space between the two surfaces is kept open to show this movement. This series is about small surprises, such as a ray of sunlight that shines in and creates a beautiful image on your wall, a short, fleeting moment that is suddenly gone.

Click here to learn more about “Mirrored Light 2”, the limited edition print Art Fix created together with Esther.


3. If you could hang or place your work anywhere – earth, space, or beyond – where would that be?

Two of my favorite works are located in the desert. Ugo Rondinone’s Magic Mountains and Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East. So the desert might be a good place.


4. Tell us your “colour story”. Why do you use certain colours, and what do they mean to you?

For a while I was working fairly minimal, with monochromes and the basic primary colors. To soften these colors and make them more painterly, I started mixing them with white and brighter pigments, creating a palette of powder pink, ochre and Hockney blue. I still use these colors in most of my works. Black also plays an important role, as a counterpart and mirror image for the luminous colors.


5. If you could choose a residency anywhere in the world where would you like to go?

Japan or Tahiti. But I am also much looking forward to 2024, when I have been invited to work for 2 months at Fondation Cab in St. Paul-de-Vence.


Photo: Gert jan van Rooij


Your artistic practice in a song?!

Dream Sequence van Deus

Sit next to anyone on a 12-hr plane ride. Who would it be?

Helen Frankenthaler

Painting vs installations?


Freedom or independence?


What’s your colour?


Preferred company in your studio an animal or a human?

My dog Lou

Travel into the future or back in the past?


Build your studio anywhere in the world. Where?

Greenwich Village

High mountains or deep oceans?

High mountains

Eat only one dish in your studio for the rest of your life. Which?

Ramen soup

Isle of White vs Long Island?

Long Island

Sunrise or sunset?



Studio portret photo: Gert jan van Rooij for Museumtijdschrift

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