Sam Donald Pie Hersbach

13-04-1995, Arnhem, The Netherlands


Text written by Fabian Schöneich


Sam Hersbach, in his outlook and painting practice, is fascinated by the world that surrounds us, by its apparent trivialities and by correlations that at first glance do not appear to be connected. At the beginning of his process, there is often one thought which suddenly proliferates into a hundred. Sociological and technological developments, especially with underlying philosophical considerations, form the core of his work. Painting is a process that filters and develops thoughts further, sometimes bringing them to a conclusion and over the last two years, Hersbach has created a sheer number of paintings that reflect this process. Various series, different styles, abstractions, figurations, reality and fantasy: such is the scope of the artist’s oeuvre that only a selection can be exhibited at a time. In this way, very different narratives can be constructed, and varying styles can be highlighted. In his drone paintings, unmanned airborne vehicles take on a threatening position as both a technological innovation and as the controlling authority of the present day, developing from a toy to an aggressive, independent, sexless being. His mountain pictures, on the other hand, are almost romantic, telling of a young Dutchman’s longing to see high mountains. Hersbach himself, as a painter, is always at odds with painting and the myth that surrounds it. We find this struggle and its processing in his paintings that oscillate between the micro and the macro. Sometimes his canvases are multi-layered, colourful and complex in their narrative, with an all-encompassing ambition that we recognise from great historical paintings. In other, smaller-scale works, he does exactly the opposite, zooming in on details that somehow have managed to isolate themselves and take centre stage.




Text: Fabian Schöneich


Proofreader: Faysal Mroueh






Artist statement 2018



One could see my paintings as photographs / snapshots, or visual cut-outs of a bigger world. The world continues to exist beyond the painting. Into the unknown. The creatures that live within my paintings are more often than not afraid of the ‘unknown area’ that lays outside of the painting. Other, (generally bigger), creatures live in this outside world. There is an interaction between the in- and outside world of the paintings. Therefore the peripheral areas of the painting are of utmost important. In these areas the creatures crawl in and outside the painting. Some creatures are so big that only one finger could fit within the image.  In the work creatures fight for power and self enhancement. In one painting called ‘masker pakking’ (mask taking/grabbing), a creature finds, choses and takes a new mask to wear. A new mask as a new ego, a new extension of your being. In another painting a group of snakes attempt to hunt down a large foot of an enormous person. Meanwhile a catfish is already attacking some of those snakes. And spears are going towards the catfish. However nothing would matter if a 'too big to imagine' creature would swipe everything out of the painting, with just one movement of the finger.
I am also highly interested in technoself studies. Becoming godlike creatures through technology. What is it to be human. What is part of your being, or just a tool?
I do not desire to be a total thought dictator. This is because of the fact that everyone has a different history and view on reality. The one to one relation between the viewer and the painting is of great important and very interesting. My view on the painting is not the absolute truth.






















Gratefully supported by mondriaan fonds and stroom den haag