Matthias van Arkel
B. Sweden, 1967
Van Arkel is best known for his works using silicone rubber with which he began experimenting with in 2003. Having previously used plasticine in his sculptural works, which was not as durable, van Arkel was invited by the owner of a large silicone rubber factory to visit the plant and use the material instead. Before this time, van Arkel had worked in monochrome, using mostly greys and browns. With the commencement of his works in silicone and rubber, van Arkel began exploring how the various colours interact and in the exploration of painterly ideas through colour.
Without the use of a canvas or supporting structure, van Arkel uses the sheets of silicone rubber to build up the work. Using machinery to create coloured strips these are then arranged and fired at high temperature in a kiln. While the process and properties of the medium suggest painterliness and Abstract Expressionism, the use of an industrial material, and the volume of the work addresses Minimalism’s approach to object and materiality. His ongoing series, Container, explores the element of chance. Van Arkel places slabs of silicone into a mould which he then fires in the kiln, resulting in organic shapes and patterns as the colours blend and spread throughout the object.
Matthias van Arkel was born in Sweden in 1967. He received an MFA from University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 1991 before going on to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm between 1991 and 1993. Van Arkel has received a number of public commissions for his work including the Jakobsbergsgatan terminal in Stockholm, 2011, the Kumla Baths in 2012 and the Atlantic Plumbing Building, Washington DC in 2015. His work has been exhibited internationally in both Europe and the United States and his work his held in the permanent collections of several institutions including Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Public Art Agency, Sweden.
Van Arkel lives and works in Stockholm and New York City.
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