My name is Arie Fransen a 22-year-old fine artist based in the Netherlands. Who is currently studying at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam.
Knowledge is control. As a person, I’ve always had the urge to understand everyone and everything. Even when I was young I would constantly ask questions trying to grasp the things I couldn’t understand. When unable to understand someone or something it would upset me. Which, now as an artist, results in works on subjects of which I wish to gain a deeper understanding.
My work started out focusing on mental health. Looking back at that time I believe that I had trouble understanding my own thoughts, coping with depression, and social anxiety. Researching and analyzing them helped me to figure those thoughts and subjects out. These researches led to a variety of works from sculptures to video/soundscapes.
As I find analyzing the overflowing stream of thoughts exhausting and perhaps not that healthy, I turned to nature. We can’t understand nature on an emotional level, we can only connect to it. In 2018 I started looking at the environmental policy of Rotterdam, which coming from the countryside, was quite interesting. At home seeing green is a given. However in the city, nature has to be controlled, while still trying to keep some of its beauty in the city. The slogan of Rotterdam, therefore is: ‘Tegel eruit, plant erin’, remove a tile plant some green. While this is a nice motto it seemed like the city has been doing the opposite. This was quite interesting to me. Mankind is part of nature. However it sometimes seems as if we perceive ourselves to be above the rest of nature. This let me to build a variety of works with concrete, a man-made material, which later would be placed outside. Where nature could take it over or even destroy it.
Lately in my practice I love to combine a manmade material; concrete, together with nature; mostly plants. For each project I mix my own concrete. Mixing my own concrete gives the ability to control the outcome, which I wouldn’t have with a premix concrete. By creating my own ratios of sand, gravel and cement, gives me the freedom to decide if the concrete should look rough, smooth, strong or weak, if I want to use a mold or sculpt the concrete with my hands.