Eppe de Haan

Winner 2009

About the artist

Eppe de Haan (born 1949) is a sculptor from The Hague, trained as a painter at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. His work reflects his search for that which cannot be seen, leading him to the three-dimensionality of sculpture. This artform allows him to unveil hidden depths, discover what lies beneath the broken surface, suggest the whole by means of partial detail, and create juxtapositions reflective of the complexity and mystery of his subjects. There is an implied fluidity to de Haan’s sculptures, a sense of past and present. The strong composition in his paintings remains  recognizable in his three-dimensional works. The inherent beauty and sensuality of marble set against the need for discipline, evoke the tension between control and freedom, themes central to Eppe de Haan’s sculptures.

"I am happiest when I am working. The creative process allows me focus and peace and a livelihood."

Eppe de Haan

For over 25 years Eppe has alternated his life in The Hague with a life in Pietrasanta, Tuscany. This choice was an obvious one. The Apuan Alps and Versilia region has long been considered one of the liveliest art centers in the world, home to  a wealth of craft workshops, studios and galleries for artists. As a result, many artists of international renown have come to call Pietrasanta home, spending  much of the year working on their own projects in close contact with local artisans.

Working in the midst of an international company of colleagues is immensely inspiring for Eppe. The proximity to the classical tradition prompted his creation of monumental sculptures. For Eppe, sculpting is the process of discovering what lies hidden beneath the surface of a block of marble. It is finding the right balance, the equilibrium between ideal beauty and reality, between strength and sensuality, between weight and weightlessness, between the masculine and feminine. “By bringing it out, I want to show the complexity and mystery of life.” Eppe leaves his signature on each sculpture. A square cube. The squares offer a structure that simultaneously seem to control and free the sensual nature of the figure. The cut out square calls back to the original block from which it was carved. It is an enigmatic element of the whole—a box full of secrets, an indication of the soul, the origin.

The journey

Perhaps it is because in Pietrasanta, Italy played in important role in his beginnings as a sculptor that the town remains such a source of inspiration for de Haan. Upon hearing of courses there, he began his artistic journey in Italy. His studies accorded him many artistic acquaintances in and around Pietrasanta that helped influence his development in the artform. The city, a historical hub still alive with artistic tradition and innovation, has become a home to de Haan. Almost every sight and sound serves to invigorate the senses of the artist and inspire. Eppe’s method of working on simultaneous projects is a testament to the fact that he is never without ideas for the figures into which he breaths life by breaking them free of their marble blocks.

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