Tag Archive: artist in residence



    Catoo Kemperman graduated from the VAV department at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2017. Her last fine-art exhibition was a dialogue between two generations of artists, mother Milian van Stokkum and daughter Catoo. They each created a series of works building on weekly communications and reactions to the other’s work. “It was really nice to recognize certain things but also to see certain differences: What do you react to? What do you actually see?” Her transition into fashion has been going on for a long time. She has always sewed her own clothes and sometimes on request too. This interest organically resulted in her lingerie brand catoo_____ (with the dashes).

    “I am very happy to be working on catoo_____ and I hope it will grow. I have been making lingerie since March and have started to take that more seriously. I’ve had two photoshoots and started to sell a bit too. I’ve always been leaning towards fashion, but I didn’t want to link it to my art practice: I wanted to learn new techniques, explore things I hadn’t done yet. Now it’s like: I really want to do that all the time, so why not take it seriously?”

    So, there was that realization that fashion is what you would like to do the most. 

    “Yes, but I prefer to see it grow to a combination of my art practice and fashion. I would like that it is not only about making clothes – but that it also remains a bit more diffuse. I am working now on a 3D model in C4D, a program I use to make videos. The model wears the lingerie and moves around on screen.”

    What place does catoo_____ occupy in your life?

    “It has taken a central departure point since March. I have been focussing a lot on my job as Maakplaats coach. It is a job at the OBA (Amsterdam Public Library) to teach children in an after-school program all kinds of new techniques. We work with the laser cutter, the 3d printer, electronics, etc. – it’s very much focused on the creative process. But that was so new to me that it consumed all my energy. I wasn’t doing a lot for myself outside of it. Now it is possible to combine the two again. I enjoy working with something that is also needed. You need to work with people, people want to wear it, so you after you make it, it will get a next life. I missed that a bit in my free work.”

    Did catoo_____ start during the lockdown?

    “Yes, during the lockdown. How did that happen? I think it is the result of my search for a way to engage fashion in my practice and partly too because of the lockdown. I think in a way the amount of time we were forced to stay at home has been quite productive. Normally, I can get very distracted, doing many things at the same time. So, it was more like: You will continue with what you have made and concentrate all your energy on it. It was actually a moment for me to do what has been in my head for some time.”

    How did catoo_____ start?

    “If you look at it as making clothes, I think that it actually started a very long time ago. I had been thinking about how I could turn making clothes into something that I could reproduce. Sometimes I find that if it is visible from the outside, it becomes a style or a statement. Underwear is more intimate. It’s under your clothes, so it’s much more accessible for everyone. Say, women of all ages, professions, styles, religion; Whether you like to wear something eccentric or more modest, covered or more naked. Nobody sees what is underneath. As a women’s garment for women, it avoids some obstacles. I had been making lingerie before but used the wrong materials. Last March, I came across a shop in Nieuw-West that is focused specifically on underwear. Well, I guess since then it just started to grow in a continuous manner. I am expanding it because I like to do something that I can involve people in and I hope that I can collaborate more too.”

    Does it only exist on Instagram for now?

    “Yes, for now at least. But a website is on the way!”

    What is your ideal situation?

    “The ideal situation is actually contradictory, so it cannot be feasible anyway. I would like catoo_____ to have an intimate atmosphere but definitely grow to a proper selling brand. It should be a very inclusive brand, all sizes, and ages. And perhaps at some point, it will extend to outerwear too, loungewear etcetera. And should it really grow, I would like catoo to create employment for other women. I know (there are) plenty of women in Amsterdam that can sew very well but do this for home-purposes only. It would be ideal if the production stays local.”

    Have you thought about doing trunk shows? (A trunk show allows people to preview and/or purchase a designer’s latest collection, which can be held anywhere from a retail location to a hotel room).

    “Yes, that sounds like a lot of fun. I think it will also fit very well, and has an intimate and private atmosphere. That is important to me. That the women will be comfortable, and an event like this can be a moment to share womanhood. I also received feedback from women to whom I showed the pictures: ‘I want to hold it. I will not order now because I would rather see and touch it first.’ To be honest, I am like that myself. So, in that respect, it is also better to have an event in a physical form. This is unfortunately not possible now, due to COVID-19. But definitely something for the future.”

    The prizes are not included in the Instagram posts.

    “I actually have to change that. They are €100, – each. (laughs) Yeah, this is the marketing side, which is not my strongest point. I wasn’t so interested in it either, but I know now that it’s quite necessary. I’m still learning what people want to know and need to see quickly. So yes, that should actually be there.”

    The pictures of catoo_____ are really cool: The absence of the male gaze in the photography and the diversity of the models.

    “Thanks. For this shoot, I worked together with Lana Prins. She is a photographer, she graduated from Willem de Kooning. The female body and sexuality are her area of research, and lingerie fits that. I wanted to create portraits, like the first six pictures (on the bottom of the page). Raw but delicate. How do you portray a woman? I find that very important. I had a shoot last week with Elizaveta Federmesser. She also graduated from the Rietveld (VAV, 2018). She made 3D-scans of the models wearing the new collection. The same model will appear several times in the image. It actually started with the woman portrayed in baroque paintings. The woman is naked everywhere: here naked on a bench and then there naked on a bench again. Sexy and very sensual, but so much for the man, and not for herself. We have taken inspiration from those poses, but the idea is that you are inside with the model and not the outsider, painter, or photographer. So, it is a change of perspective. It’s naked and sensual, but it’s not supposed to be for someone else – it’s for you. That is very important for catoo_____.”

    Did you make your outfit yourself? (She is wearing a long dress with a mock neck and bishop sleeves, and flared pants – both made from jersey fabric in a grey-toned pink.)

    “Yes. I almost made everything in my closet. That’s what I really enjoy doing the most.”

    You were also in Het Parool with your outfit.

    “Oh yeah! Back then I was unsure how and if I should continue with fashion.”

    It would’ve been a good opportunity to talk about catoo_____.

    “Exactly! It would have been nice to put it on the market then. Also, interesting to get those questions about fashion. And that quote they took out of it: ‘Comfort is super important.’ It is so funny that if someone has to get a quote out of it, it’s that one. I sound silly, but I still agree that it’s so important. This too (points to her clothes), it’s beautiful, but it’s also really comfortable. I guess it is this combination that is essential for the studio practice of catoo_____ too.”

    Visit Catoo Kemperman’s website and catoo_____
    Photography by Roman Ermolaev
    Written by Nilsu Göçer

  2. Duologue with Natacha Mankowski

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    After graduating with a master’s degree in architecture at École Speciale d’Architecture, Natacha Mankowski (1986, FR) worked with Vito Acconci, Jean Nouvel, Anne Demians, and Dominique Perrault. In 2012, Natacha won the Tony Garnier Prize for Architecture and Urbanism awarded by the Académie Française d’Architecture. From 2014 onwards, she became a member of the Taylor Foundation. That same year she makes a U-turn into art and begins her first art residency of many.

    “I was just missing creating on the day to day. With architecture, you have such a long span of time until you get something built. It’s also a very administrative work. I didn’t feel totally myself. (…) In a way, I entered painting through space. I was studying a lot of abandoned buildings, empty rooms, and I would draw that. I used architecture as a way to paint, and I still do. When I go on residencies, I visit specific spaces: quarries, dry docks, big empty structures built by humans in nature. It began with this idea of looking for unwanted architecture or resulting from the hand of man. I would paint that, and I still do. (…) I was never someone who was based somewhere. Every two-three months I would go on residencies. This is how I started my work as a painter because I never had an art education in college … So I decided I would teach myself through those residencies. I tricked the system a bit, but in a good way! I entered this residency about urbanism and public space using my architecture portfolio. Arriving there I said ‘okay I am just going to paint spaces’. I switched the whole perspective of my work but they were really open-minded with this.”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    Her work shows the transition from Natacha as an architect to Natacha as an artist. Initially, her focus lies on creating an architectural space on the canvas. There is a gradual shift of focus towards the texture and the materials she uses. Now, she usually mixes sand, clay, and marble powder in the oil paint. It makes for a thick paste-like texture.

    “I think it’s going more and more towards ‘sculpted painting’, if you could call it that. I’m very much interested in how you can make a mark in the painting: with your fingers, with instruments – a bit like you would play as a kid with modelling clay – very raw, very brute. (…) I am trying to use the painting not as an object but as a wall or as something you could enter into. I am not sure yet of how it’s going to look. (…) I also started to work on the idea of the frame. This [frame] is literally the same texture as the painting. I use clay, or I mix oil, wax, marble powder, or whatever I find on the ground, [dried] flowers, pigments, and then I melt them. Depending on the quantity of oil it becomes soft or hard. You can sculpt it or model it. I just put my fingers into it to stretch it and even I use my shoe. I’m trying to recreate what you find on the floor of the place I visit and take it into the painting or the frame. Basically, the frames are made from the same [material] as the paint. (…) I am trying to go beyond the limit of the canvas (…).”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    During her first residency in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands), Natacha has easily integrated into the Amsterdam art scene. Last year, Florence Parot, one of the curators of Play Station Sloterdijk, reached out to Natacha. The two met during Florence’s curatorship at Centre Pompidou in Paris. With Natacha’s background in architecture, making art in the public space of station Sloterdijk fits within her practice. The result is The Square, an architectural diorama on the NS depot, which leaves the viewer wondering: what takes place inside? Since then, she has had group shows at ISO and De School, collaborated with sculptor Alexis Bondoux, and is currently working on a series on Andalucía.

    “This series [Andalucía] is strange. I lost my grandmother in April this year. She was a pillar in my life. I did this series on the region where she used to live and where I started to paint when I was with her. It was a personal story that I wanted to tell. (…) Sometimes you have all these ideas of how you want to honour a person when they die. Sometimes I would see myself knowing what to say at their funeral because she was such a special person. So I envisioned this and when you can’t have this, you still want to honour this person. Then you just do it the way you do it best. You use your art to push yourself to remember this person, and how you can honour them differently. [My grandmother] lived in Andalucía. She was English, and she travelled a lot. I visited her many times. When you are alone with somebody, you develop intimacy. I was really able to paint with her and experiment. She wasn’t an artist per se, but she always was very supportive of the Arts. She had really strong opinions – even if she would change her mind – she would always be vocal about them. I think this is part of being an artist: believing and fighting for your ideas – sometimes being intense about it – but just going for it. I think I learned that from her.”

    What is next for Natacha Mankowski?

    “I recently went to the island of Evia in Greece. There are hot springs there. The whole floor is made of clay and you can bathe on it. Hot water comes out of the ground at 50-60 degrees. It’s extremely hot but because it’s next to the sea, the two waters mix to create this strange communion of two worlds. It really looks special. I would like to do a new series about this place.”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    “I have all these ideas but I think it needs context.”

    Visit Natacha Mankowski’s website

    Photography by Roman Ermolaev

    Written by Nilsu Göçer

  3. City Circles Amsterdam

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    21 and 22 June | WOW Gallery

    In collaboration with Irene Fortuyn, Ketter&Co and Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), WOW presents City Circles Amsterdam during the WeMakeTheCity Festival.

    City Circles is a project investigating the human factor within an urban circle with a diametre of one kilometre. City Circles inspires, activates and shows the ability and resilience of man to shape their lives in any given urban microclimate. After City Circles in Athens, Madrid and Istanbul, this year Rotterdam and Amsterdam hosted City Circles.

    Over the past months, six WOW Artist in Residence and eleven students of DAE researched the Kolenkitbuurt based on the following themes: Learning, Food, Materiality, Craftsmanship, Flora/Fauna, Human Interaction, Rituals, Economy, Flow.

    Friday, June 21st the new WOW Gallery opens its doors to the public specially for the City Circles Amsterdam exhibition. The results of the investigations in the Kolenkit will be shown in a variety of media.

    On June 21 and 22 a variety of excursions guided by the researchers, will take you into the neighbourhood. Curious to find out the best place in the Kolenkit to sing out loud? Or are you interested in an intimate tour of the architectural highlights of the hood? Join us on Friday, June 21st at 17:00 for the opening of City Circles Amsterdam.


    WOW Artist in Residence

    Kristina Daurova / Arie de Fijter / Louis Hothothot / Miyuki Inoue / Tom Kemp / Monica Mays

    DAE Students

    Jade Badra / Aurelie Defez / Hao Du / Daniel Laufs / Britt Peeters / Janneke Schouten / Imke Sloos / Filips Staņislavskis / Ignacio Subias / Lola Tual / Marvin Unger