Hope. Tweede Biënnale Kunst in de Heilige Driehoek

10-07-2021 - 15-08-2021, Oosterhout

For Marc Mulders painting in oil is the basis of all his work, but in addition to this he does produce watercolors, collages and stained-glass windows. In the early part of his career he painted explicitly religious motifs, such as the Pietà and the crown of thorns. His palette at that time was heavy and dark. Gradually animals, flowers and gardens became his main motifs, and he began to work in an increasingly abstract way. Soft, light pastel hues took on a dominant role. He compares his work to a garden: an enclosed place of beauty, healing and harmony, a haven in the midst of this hectic world.


For years now Marc Mulders has been interested in Persian miniatures, where gardens play an important role. In this tradition the garden is a heavenly place with cooling water and delicious fruit where lovers have trysts, where music can be heard and relaxation is found. The design and color schemes of these miniatures have profoundly influenced the paintings of Marc Mulders. Into this recent series of works on paper he incorporates miniatures that involve images of gardens and paradise. About this he himself says:

“I’m constantly looking at depictions of Paradise in Persian miniatures and in early Christian art. With the visual memory of these gardens I talk to my brushes as I paint, telling them to behave as though they were garden tools... and I comb through the paint, delve into and clip it, and with broad brushes I make imaginary paths in this garden of oil paint.”

This is how he makes illuminations in oil paint. Rather than magnifying the differences between Islam and Christianity, as is often done in discussions about society, Mulders emphasizes the spiritual similarities. The ideal of paradise, the hope of a mystical union with the divine and the longing for light are, after all, universal.

Anneke van Wolfswinkel