The Animalist – How much can a sculptor leave out, and still be left with the purist form of a flying seagull? Which line of strength in a cheetah’s body typifies it most accurately? Evert den Hartog observes the animal kingdom with the warm heart of a devotee, but with the cool eye of a minimalist. He thus “catches” his animals in their most characteristic moments. Moments of movement, such as the running puma, “frozen” at full speed, or moments of calm, such as the cautious pheasant, vigilantly eyeing its adversary.
The Sculptor – Evert den Hartog weighs alternatives and has doubts like a true searcher, but then finally succeeds in maintaining a balance. Literally so, because his animals usually balance on one foot, in an optimistic attempt to overcome gravity and ascend to heaven.
Evert den Hartog studies their characters, their movement, their habits and their mutual communication, so as to fathom the essence of their form.
The Refinement – Den Hartog works with polyurethane foam in order to bring the form of his animal sculptures to their ultimate perfection. In this method, unlike modelling in wax, plaster or clay, the form is not built up from the inside out. The sculpture to be created is first sketched onto a foam block and then, following the traditional “chipping” technique, the plastic form is carved and filed out of the material. In this way the sculptor works from the outside in. The taut, refined lines that so typify Den Hartog’s sculpture are achieved through intensive filling.