I think that the theme of distance versus being close to something or someone permeates its structure. This is underlined by using layers in the image several times. In the first images the skyline of Amsterdam, as it is to be seen from the roof of Rob atelier, is covered by details of lines in charcoal being drawn, representing the human body.
It’s striking that the presence of Amsterdam as environment of the atelier is so strong in the video. Patricia, climbing over the roof, is like an intruder, or better: a messenger from this outside world. In the next image the charcoal lines cover images of her: the drawing versus the model. In a natural connection with this the wall covered with sketches is shown, again in moving layers. One can interpret this as the previous experience with drawing that permeates the work on the present one.
Rob is shown in his atelier with the diversity in his work. Details of paint on the palette being worked up with a brush, and of a bunch of brushes, are mixed with close ups of Rob and views of the skyline of Amsterdam. Is it a coincidence that the Rijksmuseum is viewed many times? Anyhow, the difference in distance represents well the labour of the artist: sometimes in a frenzy of creation and destruction (the tearing of failed drawings is shown emphatically), sometimes at the distance of analysing the model and the way she’s rendered on paper or canvas. In Puccini’s ‘Mio babbino caro / babbo pietà, pietà’ (my dear daddy, have mercy) used as background music, I feel something of the feelings of a model versus an elder artist.
At the end the editing is more quiet. Patricia’s dance, first before a layer of dance paintings (a simple, but very effective use of combined layers), is later on viewed from above, without details from the background. With this perspective the building up of concentration is shown, both from the artist as from the model. In the extraordinary attention for the models legs, the concentration on form and anatomy from the side of the artist is visible, and his sharpened view. So, the shots of Rob in full concentration that are mixed in this last part of the video are well placed. I think that a very strong aspect of this video is that processes like the use of layers and zooming in are no gimmicks in themselves, but are used as a support of an intelligent view on the subject.
Theo van Loon