Plausibility is not referentiality here but openly discursive. Roland Barthes, The Reality Effect

Jelle van den berg is a deceptive artist. An illusionist, but not in the usual realist sense of the  term, affirming our image of reality with finely tuned replicas or simulation of a recognisable and tangible part of the world. His illusion is more covert, disarming; eroding our confidence and conjuring new worlds and vision. His work tempts us to look, to look closely, but what we do we realise, after succumbing to that wanting encounter, that the action is taking place elsewhere. It is a feint, a ruse, a way of changing the entire conversation or the rules of engagement

Art of this form is not as comfortably believable and straightforward as it first appears. Neither is it an overt or ironic gesture that assumes a knowing rhetoric posture. Van den berg's work is a much deeper inquiry into what our known world can mean, and what role art plays in both making and identifying that meaning. What we see is an artist conjuring from the familiar,unsettling encounters with elements that lie below or oblique to our conscious, rational thought. It is painting and sculpture as evidence or description of the psychological landscape…



Through the rehearsed skills of painting van denBerg, like his precursors in the field is able to transform the everyday into reflection on something much more profound and resonant, something personal and philosophical for the artist and the viewer. Eschewing the didactic pitches for grand social themes or the narcissism of artistic persona, Van den Berg focuses on the psychological and the personal, embracing the propulsive neurotic effects of identity culture, and relationship. His own dislocation from the Netherlands finds recurring echoes in his use of the wryly-amusing motif of clogs ( or the rather more absurdist 'Clog-Stock' Performance events,) the solitude of the still life or the vacant studio interiors, and the feints and deceptions, his plays on pseudonyms that become his alter-egos, Juan de Pourg, Rudi Vos (Eng. Trans, Rudi Fuchs) or Joop Buis (Joseph Beuys.) Assuming the authority of another name is a camouflage, an identification, and an obfuscation, a linguistic reference that may raise a smile, but remains somewhat a disquieting sublimation.

Gary Sangster, 2015