Name: Theo Lenartz
Country represented: The Netherlands
Personal web site: www.theolenartz.nl
1st Award Installation Art – X Florence Biennale 2015
Born in Heerlen (The Netherlands), Theo Lenartz won the Luca Prize twice while attending the City College of Applied Arts in Maastricht. Thereafter, he studied at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. His work includes wood reliefs, concrete reliefs, and glass mosaics made for several buildings in Limburg. He has travelled through Spain, Israel, Greece, and the United States. Aside from exhibiting in The Netherlands, more particularly in Maastricht, Breda, Delft, and Amsterdam, he has shown his works in major European cities such as Brussels, Berlin, and Aachen. Theo Lenartz is a versatile artist spanning painting, sculpture, monumental sculpture and creative endeavours made with a variety of media such as stained concrete, glass-glass, glass melt, bronze, aluminium and other metals. Many of his works are set in town halls and public spaces such as swimming pools, crematoria, hospitals, and churches in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
What is your notion of art, and how do interpret that idea as an artist?
Art allows me as a human being to serve others by arousing amazement. In my view, art is a reflexion of our time, mediated by perception through our senses. Artists, in fact, are inspired by the spirit and ambiance of the environments in which they immerse.
Please tell us about your sources of inspiration, your reference models.
Sources of inspiration are inherited from the power of expression, from the many ways in which human beings create and tell things about themselves, their experiences and knowledge.
What characterises your artistic research from a formal or aesthetic point of view?
Artistic research is limitless: it may span two dimensions on the canvas, three dimensions in space, and even a fourth dimension – time, according to Einstein.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, I think that beauty arises from a creative intuition driving forms and colours so as to generate a feeling that the soul, mind, and body are in divine harmony.
What characterises your artistic production as far as materials and techniques, or media are concerned?
My style allows me to select and combine different materials meeting the taste of an audience, and thus to arouse an interest from collectors as well.
How was your experience at the Florence Biennale?
It is an international, or better an ‘intercontinental’ event that is unique as it gathers different cultures. I experienced surprising encounters, which I had never dreamt of. This entailed having the chance to have unexpected dialogues with other artists, making friends, and appreciating ‘others’ as human beings. I also got astonishing views from the standpoints of concept and media.
It has been a great honour to be an exhibiting artist at the Florence Biennale. I would describe such an experience citing Dante Alighieri’s verses: ‘Nostro intelletto se profondo tanto / che dietro la memoria non può ire’ (Our intellect is to such depth absorb’d / that memory cannot follow) (La Divina Commedia, Paradiso, Canto I, 8-9).