In the early nineties I was on my way to a carreer as a professional football player, at the same time I was an art school student. Four years I commuted between the tough world of football and the not clear-cut life of a young artist. In fact in that period my body carried two personalities. Eventually a serious injury ended my football ambitions. I committed myself fully to being an artist and in 1996 I went to Amsterdam to participate in a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie. During that residency I found a way to convert my experiences as a football player into abstract paintings. With pen on paper and with oil paint on canvas I marked the trajectory of the ball and the players during football matches. This live painting was my invention. At the time computerprograms for creating heatmaps didn’t yet exist or they were strictly used for scientific research.
The football stemmed works were exhibited in important Dutch artspaces, such as Witte de With, de Kunsthal and the Bonnefantenmuseum. And from 1998 till 2003 I had several soloshows in the Berlin based Paula Boettcher Gallery. When I started to explore different paths of painting - since I didn’t want to repeat myself - and Paula Boettcher closed her gallery, the art world’s attention was slowly drawn away from me and my work.
Although I am constantly looking for ways to renew myself in painting, I have never completely stopped making the football drawings and the football paintings. In the upcoming exhibition called “Looplijnen” (Running Lines) at VZL Contemporary Art, I’ll show a selection of the football works that I made from 1996 till now. Del Piero, Litmanen, Davids, Bergkamp, Kluivert, Zidane, Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie, Messi, Hazard, De Bruyne, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Griezmann, Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay. The football players leave marks on my canvas, like the running lines of industrious ants. The paintings are diagrams of the poetic that elevate football to the eternal world of abstraction.
Raymond Cuijpers, April 2019
Image: Raymond Cuijpers, Litmanen-Davids-Torricelli-Del Piero, second half CL-final1996 Ajax-Juventus,
olie op doek, 135x175cm, 1996