"I Want What She's Got !"
Robyne Voyce & Rudolf Boelee
NG Gallery, 6 June -7 July, 2007

Text: Bill Dudley
Images: Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee

Christchurch artists Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee present their new exhibition  "I Want What She's Got !" at NG gallery. The title of the show refers to the eternal quest for the desirable and the glamorous. The exhibition is the latest in a series of shows by the pair, dating back to 1997.

Rudolf Boelee  "Film Stills"

From a young age, artist Rudolf Boelee has been hugely affected by film and this interest has influenced a large part of his work. His images seem like stills from 1940's "Film Noir" or "Nouvelle Vague" - "New Wave" from the 1960's, the grainy  appearance of his works enhances this effect. Inspired by the vitality of the Hollywood B movies, originating in the United States, employing heavy shadows and patterns of darkness, in which the protagonist dies, meets defeat, or achieves meaningless victory in the end.  The painted grid works for "I Want What She's Got!" are a continuation on similar themes explored in the multimedia "The Ambiguous Image" series of projects.

As an adolescent Rudolf Boelee was more interested going the cinema then attending his high school. Seeing and identifying with films by François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Jean-Pierre Melville. These film makers, from a slightly older generation, became his artistic role models in a post  war the Netherlands. Like France, the Netherlands was an occupied country during the second world war unlike say England or the USA, and the experience of austerity and internal tensions, created by a population that on the whole resisted and in part collaborated with the Nazis, left a mark on the country's psyche. A distinctive philosophy - existentialism - evolved in France and later in other European countries in the post-war years. This philosophy, associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and other French intellectuals, was a major influence on the New Wave. Existentialism stressed the individual, the experience of free choice, the absence of any rational understanding of the universe and a sense of the absurdity in human life. Faced with an indifferent world an existentialist seeks to act authentically, using free will and taking responsibility for all their actions, instead of playing preordained roles dictated by society. The characters in French New Wave films are often marginalized, young anti-heroes and loners, with no family ties, who behave spontaneously, often act immorally and are frequently seen as anti-authoritarian.

The paintings in "Film Stills" are echoes of these formative experiences, recasting characters from  films as diverse as: "Alphaville", "Pickpocket", "Last Year in Marienbad", "Persona", "Trans-Europe Express", "Vivre sa Vie", "Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle" into a cinematic frieze and Boelee intentions are to blend his works in with the theatrical high fashion presentation of NG design. This exhibition also neatly completes a circle, back to his earlier (1981) exhibition "The Girl Can't Help it"