The eyes probably originated one and a half billion years ago as a small spot with photosensitive cells over which the skin has formed a lens. (quote JCJ Vanderheyden from: Hans Locher, JCJ Vanderheyden, Light, Time and Space, Wezep 2011)

For most of us, these are concepts that lead to a goal. We see and look to act, to think, to interpret. Seeing is a physical matter, looking is a mental one. Reasoning along those lines would then lead to intellectual inferences. Perception is a means, a necessity to understand, to draw conclusions, perhaps to conduct science.

At JCJ Vanderheyden it usually seems to be about those concepts. What's more, they are not just means that lead to a goal, but are goals in themselves for JCJ. He is not interested in seeing and looking and then painting that reality. It is certainly not his intention to see a horizon to paint it because of supposed beauty. For JCJ, the horizon is “… the ultimate limit of what the eye can actually perceive, always at the same height as its own eye. But at the most it is a focus of the gaze and ultimately a person creates what he keeps his gaze on.

Looking in his studio and listening to his commentary, you often hear him say: "We don't know", when he wonders what he sees and why and how to relate it to Light, Time and Space. JCJ is not the scientist who is not satisfied with that "we don't know" statement and then retreats to the study or laboratory until a satisfactory answer is found. JCJ is the artist who has enough demand and has his hands full. He sees and looks and it is that effect of perception that is ultimately the art of JCJ Vanderheyden.

Recently a beautiful new edition, a monograph about JCJ and his work, appeared at the JCJ Vanderheyden exhibition in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. Written by Hans Locher, former director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, friend of the artist and expert on his work: “JCJ Vanderheyden, Light, Time and Space” (De Kunst Publishers, Wezep 2011).

Light, Time and Space in combination with See, Look and Observe together form all concepts that have been JCJ's aim and motif for an artist's life.

Paul van Rosmalen, October 2011