although more widely known for his ceramic work, ruan hoffmann produced these large works on paper at his recent residency at the thami mnyele foundation in amsterdam. taking a pause from ceramic work allowed him to work in a large format and different medium. the works take as their departure the city and its layout, tightly planned around the livelihood of people and water. quite coincidentally 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the ‘grachtengordel’ which is the heart of old amsterdam. from a social perspective his work explores the relationship between man and man-made. not just the city as organism but the city as a person. the metaphor of a city halfway immersed in water and taking the shape of a ‘citi-zen’ is appropriate for amsterdam with it’s network of streets and canals. the analogy to the arterial elements in the human body and it’s figurative approximation in the work is abstracted and menacing. it is the community of property and inhabitation / infestation that create an ominous byline to ‘amsterdam man’. a cyborg of the corporation created to serve it, but with the power to destroy it, the ‘amsterdam man’ brings a duplicitous urban tension accross in a very convincing animated manner. hoffmann’s signature blue and white aesthetic of line drawing creates a mis-happened woven texture and beautifully expresses the composite nature of cities and their hidden alternative lives. the iconographical elements associated with city street maps and the location specific nature of it are turned into a nonsense of linear confusions; very much the way a visitor to a new city finds their way with google maps; this confusion is then turned into an understandable shape, that of a man, which i believe echoes the artists growing feeling of familiarity with amsterdam.