Discover Eindhoven, The Netherlands in this catalogue of creative happenings

Telling tales

May 7th, 2011

Filed under: ART & DESIGN

Mischa (35) and Nanning (33) Tydeman are at it again. Telling fabulous stories on behalf of four talented ladies who illustrate – Misses Danïelle van Dieten and Smits, Kim Welling and Marieke Coenen. Works by these illustrators are to be viewed for one more chance, tomorrow in Mischa’s apartment, Lichtstraat 2 in Eindhoven.


The “Fairytale exhibition” consists of plates from books, picture books, baby dolls, ceramic vases, figurines, crocheted ornaments and doll clothes, crockery and even a gargantuan glass door.

The artists

Danïelle van Dieten – Her works are mainly pen with fabric and some colour pencils. They also use layering to great effect, and create an entire scene with great depth (literally and figuratively) with the help of silhouettes, colour or even clever placement: take the man on a horse in the bottom right hand corner of frame (see below). Her soon to be published book, illustrating the seven princes who do not want to become king sounds like a very good read to me, and the whimsy of her oversized newspaper moon on a quiet Utrecht night landscape leaves me wondering where the little bus is going, or what the lady is discussing with the fox over his soup.

"I, like my other 6 brothers, refuse to be King!"

the poetry of Danïelle van Dieten's illustration

Danïelle Smits – Her works can be read about in detail in Nanning’s blog (Dutch only). Nanning told me that Smits finds out what her work is about some time after it’s done. She says that when she graduated from the Academy in Gent, Belgium, she felt something like a baby. So there are quite a few baby dolls and heads and bits and pieces of hers, and she says she’s come into her toddler stage now. Hm, would that be the Hello Kitty! freakshow series? I’m curious what stories puberty will bring!

Weird and wonderful kitties

Spooky baby dolls in crocheted mantles

Kim Welling – She places her whimsical line drawings onto porcelain. The transfers are made in England and these are cooked onto vintage crockery, much of which was greedily collected at this past Queen’s Day flea markets. The inclusion of crockery anchors the use of an apartment as an exhibition space. Kim crocheted a range of ornaments especially for the exhibition which are sweet and tempting to squeeze, and maybe even buy.

Vintage crockery with a little something extra special

Imagine eating your dinner off such a delightful set every night?

Crocheted forms of Kim Welling's motifs

Marieke Coenen – Last but not least are the wonderful yet sad, detailed stories of Inga Misschaert, illustrated by Marieke – an old schoolmate of Nanning’s – who just loves to draw. I have put in an order for my copy of “Balthazar de eenzaamste ezel ooit” (Balthazar, the loneliest donkey ever) – who goes in search of “ever” when his mother prepares him for her departure. It all sounds heartbreaking — à la Bambi — but luckily there is an owl and three mice to lend him solace throughout. With my special order through Tydeman Galerie, I get a special inscription illustration in my copy by Marieke. I can’t wait! The incredible glass door that Mischa has had installed deserves a special mention. Marieke’s plates are usually rather small, probably roughly A4 in size. It’s impressive how her little creatures and characters have so much character when drawn so small … and even more amazing how they translate perfectly when enlarged to a 2 metre tall glass panel. Whether the apartment lights are on or off, by day or by night, the story of the little green pumpkin who dreams of one day being orange is enchanting. (Mind you, orange pumpkins get chopped up, so it’s okay being permanently green after all).

Balthazar's story is heart-rending

The Smits glass door is impressive and has to be seen in person

Marvelling at the detail

I came to the exhibition with my dear friend Myrte de Zeeuw. She too, an illustrator, was delighted by the abstract qualities and narratives of the show. Her real-life renderings of birds have their own background and whimsy – it is great to introduce fellow artists to other artists and agents of art.

The pursuit of the whimsical, poignant, charming is here in the Netherlands. And that’s thanks to the shy, modest, brilliant, curatorship of Nanning and Mischa Tydeman. I’m not making it up.

Brother and sister compose themselves before telling their stories on our tour of the exhibition

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