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Wim Claessen, 2006

Me Walking

Acrylic on medium density fibreboard
40 × 30 cm

The painting Me Walking from 2006 belongs to a series of same-named works within which the artist depicts himself taking a walk. This injects a narrative impulse into the spare pictorial space, thereby enhancing the resemblance of the pictures to film stills. Especially through the back view of the artist seen diagonally from above, one has the impression of the artist’s walk having been documented by an image recorded by a surveillance camera and subsequently edited. The focus of the representation is on observing the mood with which, for his part, the artist views the landscape. It is as if something were being shown that long ago disappeared with the passing of time, as if it were slipping away with an aura of nostalgia and melancholy.

An apparently casual, sketch-like character is typical of the handling of the brush in Me Walking and fits into the picture which, like its companion pieces, gives only minimal spatial indications that make it possible to grasp this situation suffused with indefiniteness. The artist—self-absorbed, slumped within himself as he walks—seems to be physically impelled by the ongoing movement even as his mind is sunken in thought and apparently not aware of the surrounding reality. This is a mood which perhaps shows a contemporary figure in a thoroughly globalized, increasingly alien world, an individual embarked upon a precious, permitted parole.

(Dirk Tölke, revised version)