cologne

Koen van den Broek

Philipp von Rosen Galerie

One of the peculiar qualities of the built environment is that, despite its utter intricacy and diversity, it always contains the germ of pictorial abstraction. Depending on viewing angle, proximity, or clarity, images of buildings and streets can advance the abstract qualities of their inherent surfaces, structures, grids, and patterns. Thus the ubiquity of architecture and the urban landscape as both an artistic subject and a visual source for both painting and photography.

For about a decade, Belgian artist Koen van den Broek has rigorously taken up the challenge posed by this phenomenon. The starting point for his paintings is a vast personal archive of photographs taken during his many trips through North America. Van den Broek does not picture the city as a lived entity but as a material fact, devoid of human presence. Furthermore, he looks not so much around as downward: to the

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.