“I’ve always been fascinated by the backs of sheds, worn thresholds and greasy patches around light switches. What does the inside of the wall look like? I want to know what is on the blown away pieces of paper lying under a bush. And why shouldn’t an old piece of plywood be just as valuable as a ceremonial portrait? All those houses with attics with cabinets with drawers containing all sorts of little things … All those stories that are so different and so similar. I will never hear them.”
About Jef Stapel’s works
Jef Stapel uses discarded materials from building sites: mainly plywood boards and sometimes perspex. The glue residue, old layers of paint, nail holes in the material are the starting point for his creations. He saws the boards, breaks them, cuts and chisels out shapes from them, glues and hammers parts of them together, layered on top of each other, adds a stripe of paint …
The main tool used to make these ‘paintings’ isn’t a brush but a chisel, and a saw, nails and glue. The pattern of the chiseling forms its own painterly texture, like brush strokes do.
The visible ‘themes’ of these works seem familiar abstract subjects. However, they are dealt with in a new way. The absence of a figurative reference to the reality outside the work itself makes them into abstract paintings. But these works are not only about abstract shapes and lines. It is the material of which the works are made, that is the bearer of meaning, of association. This makes the role of the artist seem minimal.