By Yasmijn Jarram

Dirk Zoete sees himself as a draftsman mainly. He also makes models, sculptures and installations but these are derived from his drawings and they are essentially drawings. The drawings by Dirk Zoete originate in different ways and have various styles. At times they are controlled and calculated on millimetre paper, but sometimes they are only given meaning and shape during the drawing process. The material that Dirk Zoete uses, including printing ink, charcoal, wood cuts, chalk and even mud occasionally, play an important role in bringing about his work. The artist sees drawing as an interaction between control and chaos.

Important themes in the work by Dirk Zoete are solitary living, lonely and never ending labour and a personal quest for acting and thinking primitively. This personal investigation has resulted in models in which architecture and human actions take centre stage. The materials used are also important, for example stable manure and cow manure, rubber, wood, soil and straw. Dirk Zoete used to work on a research project studying the use of stable manure as fuel and building material. However, he has recently focused on making large pencil drawings which means that building models is no longer one of his main activities. The drawings stand alone and are hardly ever related to a project or a study now.

All-in all, Dirk Zoete continues to develop utopian architecture which remains separate from reality but does nevertheless have a logical and practical foundation. This architecture can be childlike or even naïve. The artist attempts to work in an instinctive way on what he calls ‘survival architecture’.