2018 #11


by Ilona Plaum

Selected by
Galerie Dudokdegroot

W5 2018

Selected by Galerie Dudokdegroot

By her use of sculpture, paint and natural materials, Ilona’s artworks literally take on new shapes and forms as she experiments with depth and texture.


I am fascinated by how organic life exists. Plants and trees are shaped directly by their environment, responding to light and to the atmosphere around them. Nature is an endless source of inspiration for me, and in my most recent work I became intrigued by microscopic cell growth; minuscule universes on which all life centres. By creating a symmetrical cross with branches, I draw upon the process of cell division. I have been collecting tree branches for a long time, so my studio is full of them. After selecting a branch that I find particularly beautiful, I make a copy by wrapping it in tape. I then make a cut on the long side with a knife and peel off the tape carefully so that I have a cocoon of sorts. This is stuffed with paper to make a solid sculpture. I’ve been working on the series for over a year now, and it really feels boundless. I work on it continuously until I feel empty.


Painting is a way for me to become physically involved with the image I’m creating. It breaks down the distance from my subject. It also requires a longer and more intense process. Paint contributes its own unique quality, drifting into abstraction and away from reality. In my most recent work, I apply paint to the “armpits” of the crosses or frame the sculptures with a painted background. Tape is used to mark out my paint strokes. I feel this provides a dynamism to my photographs that stands for the movement of life in some way. The branches I use also signify this idea; I am especially interested in the ones that contain waves and ripples.


My starting point is always a three-dimensional vision. I guess that has to do with my background as a jewellery maker. I love the feeling of depth and conveying an enlarged, intensified feeling of the world. This approach relates more closely to how we experience reality – our existence is three-dimensional, not flat! My previous works were frequently shot in portrait format, utilising vertical settings. For the branch series however, I have been investigating taking pictures from above. With this framing, further experiments emerge involving layering and texture.

Read more (1 min read)

W21 2018

W21 2018

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W8 2018

Ilona Plaum

Amsterdam, NL


Ilona Plaum

Amsterdam, NL

Ilona Plaum (b. 1970, the Netherlands) is fascinated by the growth and movement of nature. Referencing the conventions of the still life, her subjects are invariably found, organic objects re-appropriated into abstract forms; twisted branches, leaves and flowers framed by paper crowns. Plaum traverses space and time through the experience of an ancient tree, or a plant reaching towards sunlight through a dense canopy. Her research into perception has afforded a mastery of shadow and depth, endowing her images with a tangible sense of physicality. Paint, tape and other materials create a shifting, tactile backdrop and using sculpture she transforms the flat surface of a photograph into a three-dimensional immersive experience.

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