A. MARLEEN SLEEUWITS
Artist Marleen Sleeuwits (1980) is mainly interested in the illusory character of depicted spaces. Or to put it more precisely: in and with her work she creates situations in which the spectator is confused by a realistic-looking representation of a space that is completely artificial. She gets her inspiration from anonymous work and residential environments and places without identity, such as offices, hotels, and airports. In recent work Sleeuwits builds new spaces or sculptures with materials from such spaces, such as laminate, suspended ceilings, parquet strips and fluorescent tubes, which she then photographs. The antitheses between real and artificial,
current and imitative, concrete and virtual, two- and three-dimensional, create a visual experience that temporarily alienates the spectator from the feeling of time and place. What do I actually see? What is the scale? Where am I? How do I physically relate to the space that I see before me? The
last question arises because Sleeuwits plays a game with another space-related aspect of photography, namely the way in which it creates an alternative for the depicted space and the space in which the viewer finds himself. She leaves us with a disoriented feeling. It plays with our perception of time,
place and event, which no longer seems to exist as a unit.
B. THE ORACLE
of AVL is a two and a half meter high totem cup made at the invitation of the Amsterdam 4 and 5 May committee in 2014. It was on the Dam in Amsterdam and touches on the themes of 5 May, such as freedom
of speech and the fact that people do not always formulate their own thoughts, but blindly take over those of another. The Oracle reiterates text messages from the audience, with the head moving mechanically.
The texts can be poetic and noble, but also unadulterated and politically incorrect.
Text your message to: +31617042022.
C. SANDER BREURE AND
WITTE VAN HULZEN
One of the main concerns of the work of Sander Breure (1985) and Witte van Hulzen (1984) is an expanded
research into the history of portraiture and its relationship with theatre. The work encompasses the vast range of human [facial] expressions and how over time certain gestures become associated with
and also disassociated from not only emotions but also social positions and activities. or their long-term performance at Utrecht train station, they worked with a group of actors that performed highly choreographed quotidian activities that almost go unnoticed in the location. However once the commuters noticed the movements and actions
of the actors they became witness to a theatre of the everyday that has suddenly unwoven itself from the fabric of daily life. Taking place for half a year, this work raised the question when performance
becomes labor and vice versa. Currently, the duo continues the research into the
archive of human gestures, but this time creating repository of head busts that can match sculpted torsos in different positions. Here the sculptures become the performers and are activated in staged scenarios in the space and in relation to the audience. While actors almost become living sculptures, the sculptures almost become persons, but neither manages to completely cross over to the other. The
thin membrane between life and death keeps them apart. (text: Sohrab Mohebbi)
D. FREUDENTHAL / VERHAGEN
The well-known Dutch photography duo Freudenthal / Verhagen (Carmen Freudenthal, 1965 and Elle Verhagen, 1962) is based in Amsterdam. Both studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Carmen studying Photography and Elle Fashion Design. They met after graduatingIn 1988 and started working together on an assignment for a design label. There was an immediate mutual recognition and taste in what (fashion) images should look like. Their collaboration began with a publication in I-D magazine in 1989. From that moment on they have searched for ways to
stretch the traditional definition of photography, to make cross-overs between fashion and art and to
visualize cultural relevance. The images have been diverse in discipline and form over the years, but
often tell a layered and sometimes disturbing story, using and mixing different media to create a unique visuallanguage. In their infinite love for photography and addiction
to the unexpected and unusual, Freudenthal / Verhagen stretches the boundaries of photography. The
duo brings together photos in 3 D installations and translates projected videos into photos. By printing
on silk and adding epoxy or rubber, the photographers change the usually flat surface of a picture and surprise the viewer with a manipulated reality.
E. CHRISTIAAN ZWANIKKEN
The Dutch artist Christiaan Zwanikken (1967) received international recognition for his kinetic and mechanical sculptures, sound works and installations. His complex moving sculptures look like humans, animals or plants and are controlled using electric motors and computer technology. He often combines different media, robotics, biology, microcontrollers and sound. His works are both an artistic and a technological experiment in which innovation and finds play an important role. In his research into the relationship between man, nature,
science and technology, Zwanikken combines the living with the lifeless. Each sculpture is therefore both mechanical and autonomous and has its own ‘identity’ that is controlled by software, electronic, sensory and artificial speech. Although he uses ‘hard’ technologies such as machines and operating systems, he always tries to appeal to people and ‘soft’ technologies. His art has departed from the domain of plastic work in order to enter that of
plasmic work. At first his pieces are clearly identifiable but as the interaction of the work with the viewer unfolds, they are given other potentialities and they take on new forms. In the hybrid animal installations, they attach themselves to any and all forms of animal life. By additionally hyper-synchronizing the movements of his work to electronic or acoustic sound compositions, Zwanikken creates what he calls ‘techno-plasmic entities’. These are new creations that jump along the evolutionary ladder and are not limited by their real-world anatomy.
F. ISABELLE WENZEL
Isabelle Wenzel (1982) is a photographer, artist and also acrobat. In her work she asks herself: Who am I? What is the relationship we have with each other? She uses her body as a ‘responsive form’ to capture
movements and almost impossible poses in surreal scenes. With these moving studies of the human body she confronts the viewer with questions and emotions. Wenzel enters the theatre stage as a photographer, model, sculpture and finally also as a spectator, merged into one medium. Sometimes she is still recognizable, sometimes her body parts seem to sing from the space by the colour and structure of the clothes and the props and sometimes her body even functions as a side table or plinth for still-life’s with stacked crockery and vases. The distorted bodies give access to a sculptural world in which there is no question of the person or personality. Wenzel’s world offers new perspectives. Within ten seconds, Wenzel gives us a fleeting glimpse of memories, of something that has been, giving your own imagined reality and associations the greatest possible space.
G. FELIX BURGER
Felix Burger (1983) develops expansive and spacious room installations; accessible stages with objects, films, drawings and sound. Starting point of his work are often images of collective memory that he sends through his personal matrix and transforms them into an often absurd and disturbing composition. His work ‘Shell Shock Syndrome’ (2014) is a contemporary version of the horror cabinet of dr. Caligari (1920). The theatrical choreography consisting of a
fifty-piece chorus of ramshackle, ceramic and mechanical dolls and cyborgs that are connected to each other with electronic wires. These alter egos by Felix Burger perform fragments from the Matthäus-Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach. Suffering, death and resurrection become a biographical lament, balancing between slapstick and drama, between intellectual world theatre and a children’s room worked out in detail. Failure is the visible central theme in
H. MICHIEL VOET
The multidisciplinary artist, photographer and theatre maker Michiel Voet (1964) works at home and abroad and in different contexts. As an autonomous artist and scenographer, he often collaborates with theatre directors, composers and writers. Voet received a lot of attention for the photo series and the theatre project The Invisible Man Project. It tells the remarkable story of his friendship with the elusive, illegal refugee Karim Ramtani. Voet met Algerian Karim Ramtani in his studio in Amsterdam-Noord. They talked about Ramtani’s dreams of a better life, but they also talked a lot about art. A collaboration arose that resulted in a remarkable series of photographs followed by the
theatre production The Invisible Man. A performance that is still being played, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In the project Voet talks about the encounter and the fascination he developed for the life of this stranger. Then Ramtani tells the same story, but from his perspective. About how he once arrived in
Amsterdam from Algiers. And about his hidden and unpolished life in Europe. In March of this year, the artist and theatre maker travelled to Algeria where he held performances and made a new series of photographs. Voet followed the routes that immigrants and refugees take to the Mediterranean. As a solitary protester, he took action
against the terrible tragedy that has taken place in
the last ten years around the Mediterranean.
I. JOEP VAN LIESHOUT /
ATELIER VAN LIESHOUT
After graduating at the Rotterdam Art Academy, enfant terrible and sculptor Joep van Lieshout quickly rose to fame with projects that travelled between the world of easy-clean design and the nonfunctional
area of art: sculpture and installations, buildings and furniture, utopias and dystopias. In 1995, Van Lieshout founded his studio and has been working solely under the studio’s name ever since. The studio moniker exists in Van Lieshouts practice as a methodology toward undermining the myth of the artistic genius. Van Lieshout has established a multidisciplinary practice that produces works on the borders between art, design, and
architecture. By investigating the thin line between manufacturing art and mass-producing functional objects, he seeks to find the boundaries between fantasy and function, between fertility and destruction. Van Lieshout dissects systems, be it society as a whole or the human body; he experiments, looks for alternatives, takes exhibitions as experiments for
recycling, and has even declared an independent state: AVL-Ville (2001). A free state in the Rotterdam harbour, with a minimum of rules, a maximum of liberties, and the highest degree of autarky. All of these activities are conducted within VanLieshouts signature style of provocation – be it political or material. Van Lieshout combines an imaginative aesthetic and ethic with a spirit of entrepreneurship; his work has motivated movements in the fields of architecture and ecology, and has been internationally celebrated, exhibited, and published. His works share a number of recurring themes, motives, and obsessions: systems, power, autarky, life, sex, and death – each of these trace the human individual in the face of a greater whole.
J. KEVIN POWER
Kevin Power makes art, performance and costume to witness and heal what is happening inside of him and around him. Kevin is deeply moved by the beauty of the earth and realizes that she is the true mother of us all. Observing how we as human kind behave ruthlessly and destructively towards ourselves, the planet and other species, he strongly feels the urge to recover our sensibility and restore our soul. He processes this in his artwork for which he lets himself be inspired by stories, mythologies and shamanism. By recycling and re-purposing materials, he creates on the edge of having something to offer in its investigation. The art work becomes the witness and serves to heal. Power: ‘We are our own myth, our own creation, evolving in mutation with a vibrancy
in the hope of finding shelter in our vulnerability.’ Kevin Power started an art-spiritual-fashion project
in 2015 calling it the “Dali Lamas Pajamas”. Challenging the fashion system, these one of a kind garments are intended for cocooning into the great infinity that is inward. Self-healing garments that invite the wearer to Wear the Prayer and come home to oneself, to who the wearer is in all one’s stupendous splendour. Power: ‘We are here for one another, we heal one another. Go gently on the earth.’
K. ALET PILON
The works are about power, powerlessness, the fear of death and loneliness. Intense memories from her life form the basis for the works. Growing up in a Christian environment as the daughter of a general practitioner, Alet Pilon feared death and felt an enormous feeling of oppression on her life. By following a fashion education (Academy of Fine Arts
Utrecht, 1971) she thought she could escape these inner fears by choosing the stylized exterior and
aesthetics. It only gave her temporary respite. A need arose to portray feelings of loneliness and vulnerability in a series of works that had nothing to do with fashion and applied art, but stemmed from their own visual language. Like ‘The Boy’ from the series ‘Talk to me’ (2011). He is both animal and human. A fragile-looking figure in jeans, sneakers and a sweater, without a face, with a protective skin of plaster cast and goat horns.