Three Knee Deep (Amsterdam) 1 / 8

When No Man’s Art Gallery invited Kavelaars the to join him for an exhibition in Shanghai in 2013, he decided to take the opportunity to work in a Shanghai studio for two months prior to the exhibition there. From the first brush he experienced a creative energy he had previously not been able to channel, an endless source of inspiration that noticeably changed the works he created, and would even drastically change his life.

Kavelaars’ paintings visibly manifested a new direction. His work became stronger, his oeuvre found a focus and he became more and more conscious of his process.
The newfound inspiration was a strong factor that made him decide to stay in Shanghai after the exhibition, and he has been living and working from China ever since. Occasionally Kavelaars returned to the Netherlands, trying but failing to recreate that same creative energy he experienced in Shanghai.

This resulted in a new experiment during his solo exhibition in the beginning of 2016. NO GOOD CAN COME OF THIS was devised as a trial wherein the artist confined himself in a vacant house on the Kinkerstraat for a month. Enabling himself to explore whether he could find creative freedom if he imposes circumstances like social isolation, loneliness and powerlessness. The experience was a personal success: the external impulses that had fed him in China now came from within.

THREE KNEE DEEP is a continuation of recreating this internal energy: an extension of his solo NO GOOD CAN COME OF THIS, redefining the parameters of creative freedom. Kavelaars uncompromisingly occupies the cells of the former police station on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 69 in Amsterdam. The four consecutive cells narrate a transition from chaos to equilibrium. Again, Kavelaars’s stories go beyond the framework of his canvasses, however within the confinements of the cells.

From interpretations of scribbles and scratches of former prisoners left on the walls to serial and repetitive signs enthused by the disturbed outcome of long detention. The first three cells show a distribution of energy that finally vanishes in the last cell, a sterile presentation almost entering a void, the unknown. The cells narrate a linear story, a lifecycle that not only shows the artist’s occupation with defining the parameters of creative freedom but also seem to propose a new beginning.