Dutch artist Marcel van Eeden, who has for many years lived sporadically on the shores of Lake Zurich, has produced at the beginning of his artistic career. every day at least one drawing, mostly with Nero pencil on handmade paper. These predominantly small-format works were all framed identically. In this way, he has built up an oeuvre encompassing thousands of images reflecting a disparate visual cosmos ranging from rural idyll to 20th-century war zones, from scenes of crime to modernist architecture, and from nocturnal urban scenes to iconic foods, taking in cartoons and textual fragments on the way. For each of his images, the artist has a model, be it a book, a magazine, an advertising leaflet, or the like. These models all stem from the period prior to his birthdate of November 22, 1965.
In addition to single-sheet works on paper, van Eeden also creates multi-part series of drawings that are based primarily on episodes from the lives of four characters imagined by the artist: K. M. Wiegand, Celia Coplestone, Matheus Boryna, and Oswald Sollmann. These pulp-fiction characters all experience bizarre and mysterious adventures that seem quite perplexing and ultimately impenetrable to outsiders. The dark-hued drawings illustrating the adventures of these imaginary characters constantly oscillate between sensory overload and meaninglessness.
In his 2010 work The Sollmann Collection, the central figure is a cosmopolitan archaeologist by the name of Oswald Sollmann, who studied medicine and archaeology in the Netherlands, went on to work at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and traveled to India, Somalia, Marrakesh, Istanbul, and Zurich. The series of drawings gives an initial insight into the history of Oswald Sollman’s wide-ranging art collection based on his predilection for 17th-century Dutch painting. Most of the works—portrayals of interior spaces, buildings, landscapes, and reproductions of paintings—include strange and at times almost indecipherable signs, writing, and symbols. These include, for example, a rendering of the planetary constellation on November 22, 1948, or the railway timetable for the Zurich suburb of Thalwil from the same year; some can be interpreted as the logos of companies or commercial products. Thus, The Sollmann Collection represents yet another piece in the puzzle that is van Eeden’s multifaceted and highly sophisticated play on the histories and myths of modernism.