By Yasmijn Jarram

The apparent nonchalance of the crammed canvasses of Aaron van Erp display strange scenes in indefinable surroundings. Sometimes a dark forest with some trees and a wooden shack, sometimes a vague interior with a few items of furniture dotted about. Van Erp also often includes one or more human-like shapes. They seem more like shadows than people, reproduced as they are with just a few strokes of the paintbrush. These extras appear ill-at-ease and indecisive, as if they themselves do not quite understand how they got into their present situation.

His easy method of painting results in scenes that are ephemeral and elusive: what is actually happening here? Onlookers have a hard time getting to grips with what it is that Van Erp is depicting. Despite the grotesque scenes full of dismal elements – missing limbs, blood, a swastika – the paintings have an air of calmness and inevitability. The black humour that lies behind the titles reinforces the absurdist character. There is a dryness to the way in which Van Erp depicts a world in which nothing is quite what it seems.