Light is the one quality that connects all the paintings and their subjects, be they mannequins, entrance halls or a hotel room but in every painting the meaning of the light is different. For instance in Game Show there is a scintillating sensation of ‘silent’, electric light. In Hotelroom, there is a lamp that is not actually lit but the view from the window is ‘silenced’ by a sort of overexposure of light. There is an alienating sense of disquiet as the action has just ended, the room is empty and we have no idea of what has just happened.
Then there is the more symbolic meaning to the title, which refers to the stillness in paintings like Sitting Mannequin. Bedside Lamp or Lobby invite a more meditative gaze with their cropped view and unusual sense of perspective. A special and unique atmosphere can be felt in each painting, somewhere in between stillness and a cinematic tension.
Killian likes to choose everyday subjects for his paintings, challenging himself to make something beautiful out of ordinary subjects. A cupboard door or a generic lobby room becomes elevated to something interesting, inviting us to get involved as we gaze into it’s uninhabited empty space. Sometimes there are signs of human presence; rumpled sheets or a lamp lit, provoking us to think about who occupies these architectural spaces and what life takes place in them. This sense of involvement is something Killian actively encourages. He wants the painting to have a specific mood and personality and at the same time for it to be open to different interpretations and meanings.
Sources for his paintings are as wide and varied. Sometimes a photo from a magazine or from the internet is used. Although Killian likes to work in series to dig deeper into a
subject, the pictures he chooses to use are mainly guided by a sense of
intuition. Then there is the painstakingly polished execution which has earned him the reputation of a master of contemporary Dutch Realism or New Dutch Realism. Killian often returns to his paintings, reworking elements. The time he spends on each work varies from a few weeks to sometimes years. This contemplative way of working is mirrored by his process of using images from the internet. Killian likes to think about how as an artist, he can lift images from our fast paced, high-tech world and slow them down, changing their meaning and substance in the process, by reanimating them in paint.
Arnout Killian studied at the Rietveld Academie, and then at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. He lives and works in Amsterdam.