Tag Archive: artist



    “My mother is a Russian ballet dancer who left Moscow, my father is a fisherman from Katwijk. I was born in a dream world with reality in walking distance.”

    This interdisciplinary performance artist, writer, and part of theatre collective Zina, a Female Economy, creates a poetic alternative.

    What do you do in your professional life?

    […] It is precisely such a word as ‘professionalism’ that confuses me. Because on the one hand, I think: I’m not working professionally at all; but on the other hand, I would say I’m very professional… It places my life in a framework of hierarchy or a structure that I do not feel at home in. Do you understand what I mean?

    Do you mean that you don’t separate your work from the rest of your life?

    Oh, that’s what you were asking! To answer your first question, I am an artist, and no, I don’t separate work and life. A word like professionalism confuses me. My work is very personal, hyper-personal, I would say. Therefore, it’s hard to disconnect from it. Also, that isn’t something I aspire to. A question that creates a division between certain elements of life is upsetting to me. I see life as a whole, and I try to engage with life through art. And I do that on a what you call professional level (laughs).

    On your website, you describe yourself as a Mother. That feels very loaded to me.

    I describe myself within a context, and the full sentence says; You tend to ask me what I am. In reference to, career, religion, politics, sexuality, gender. My answer: I am a Mother. It could be interpreted as loaded, but for me, it isn’t at all. […] I wanted to put the feminine movement above all these terms. For me, these terms are, perhaps I am taking a big step now, linked to an ‘earnings model’. By that, I mean capitalism or the system, but I think those are ugly words. There is a systematic hierarchy in which we value, categorize, exclude things, etc. That’s the same with such a word as professionalism, it tries to create a separation. We as human beings relate to each other in such a system through competition instead of proximity. For me, it’s hard to move in that, though I am part of society, so I have to relate to it in a way. As an artist, I try to play with that, to alter certain narratives and create a different kind of beauty and inspiration. And I try to work within an idea of caring and give shape to that idea. And the one who really operates with care as the main focus is the Mother. 

    You are working on your project Lullabies for Adults (tentative title).
    How did you get that idea?

    I was thinking: When lullabies are no longer sung, the adversity of growing up commences; the world can no longer be saved (laughs). When you get off your caretaker’s lap and you start going to school, you’ll get thrown into this system of earning. Care is no longer the main concern. From then on relationships seem not to be approached by proximity, but are rather reduced to distance and competition. Care as something ‘feminine’ is regarded as unproductive since it’s not self-enriching. The same goes for sleep. Sleep is not seen as something that’s part of the rhythm of the day, but instead as something you have to get over with as quickly as possible so you can go back to being productive again. I think the world would be a much prettier place if people took more naps!

    These thoughts started for me with a one-sentence poem: ‘lullabies for adults’. A conversation between Anouk Hoogendoorn and I arose naturally and thus we decided to start this project. We are attracted to the same qualities in the concept of the lullaby. She posed the question: “When does it happen that the eyes open in the morning?” Still wondering about this, we talk about lullabies; research how they move between caretaker and child; what their musical aspects are; and how the gesture preludes a shift from a mode of being awake to falling asleep. Around these questions and propositions, we invited different makers from all over the world to think with us: C.Leaff (Ireland), MADMOIZELL (France), Renee von Trier (Netherlands), Chris Moore (USA), Matisse Apsimon-Megens, and Benjamin Muñoz (Canada). Everyone makes a lullaby or moves with the concept as they want. We are making an online platform where we present these interpretations, texts, and images as an inventory. Imagine a night of insomnia; you go to the platform, and you’re being sung to sleep by all those voices and images!

    When I first met you, I wasn’t sure what pronouns to use for you. So I used they / them.

    Gender has been a topic in my life since childhood. When I was little, people thought I was a girl, and I still get that today. Many people get confused by my ‘gender presentation’. But I really don’t know. Maybe I am transgender. I don’t know what to call me. I am okay with everything. […] With that being said, I have to say I am speaking from a very personal point of view. And that this isn’t a standard. I don’t know what pronounce you should use for me, but a lot of people are very clear about that.

    I always try to not write he/she/they anywhere, like in the biography [on my website].

    I noticed.

    I don’t want to define that. Because I don’t know. Because I find that uninteresting. I enjoy it when people end up confused when meeting me. Because it affects something in the other person, and I hope it reflects on their personal [gender] norms. It doesn’t affect me anymore in a negative way, because it’s not about me. But as a child, it could be hard. Back then, they would approach me as ‘she’ or ‘girl’. It confused me. I thought, But I’m not a girl, am I? Other moments can be super painful. When your parents take you to a birthday party and when grown-ups do not know how to approach you, (is that a girl or a boy?), they ignore you. It caused a kind of unrest and shock in the other person, and they would act like, Well I’m not going to touch that, I’m just going to ignore it. Then it doesn’t exist and I don’t have to do anything with it. As a kid, it paralyzes you. Now, I use this in my work, and it became something that I’m in charge of. And it’s not that I only want to make a statement about gender politics, but it’s about dismantling a structure that allows that to exists. For me, it’s all about tilting, ‘What is actually real and what is not real?‘ or ‘What is normal, what is not normal?‘, play around with that and set things in motion. Not using he/she/they in my bio or not clearly stating a pronoun is the same as a project like Lullabies for Adults: A twist that makes you understand, oh something is happening there. This also happens with the sentence of ‘I am a Mother’. When I close my eyes, and I get in touch with my inner being, I never would ask myself ‘What am I?‘. But because I’m born within a structure where I competitively relate to you, I have to make a choice. And I’m no longer going to do that for you to understand me. My work is, in a sense, dealing with this feminine perspective of care, or the matriarchal perspective versus the patriarchal perspective, to use those words for a moment. […] As an artist, I am investigating and developing something, finding language, letting something drift through my fingers and feeling it, experiencing it. To create a poetic alternative which I present back into the world to allow people to experience it and alter their way of understanding life. Maybe that’s an overstatement, but it’s a wish to influence the becoming of us human beings. As we all do, we all influence what we as human beings are and become. A lot of people move convulsively through life, and I wish for them that they could dance.

    It reminds me […] I read the interview of [Stedelijk director] Rein Wolfs in the Volkskrant of 7-01-2021. Rein Wolfs said: “The Netherlands was early engaged with diversity, but it did not follow through.” And his explanation of how to deal with that and how to follow through with a more diverse policy sounded to me as a reflection of the same structure that made our policies around art so poor. Trying to solve a problem that originated within the structure you’re trying now to solve, is a dog biting its own tail. The structure I am referring to is this structure of an ‘earnings model’. “We want to show more work by makers of colour and from other countries of origin,” Wolfs said. The director now applies a quota: between 2021 and 2024, at least half of the purchase budget will go to art by artists of colour and artists from outside Western Europe and North America.

    Why did nobody asked the question; damn, we have seen the art world through the white hetero normative perspective for hundreds of years – what we know is maybe 5% of what is happening within artistic development in the world and the rest of the 95% got ignored. You don’t see that as art, you don’t consider that as professional (just to use that word again), you don’t consider it good. But who decides that? Instead of saying that at least half of your purchase budget will go to art by artists of colour, tell us how you’re going to change the perspective from where you buy art. Tell us about your guidelines in purchasing new work. How will they make the museum or even the Netherlands as a whole more diverse, and what does that mean? Tell us what you define as good art to buy a work. Tell us how the museum will help us redefine what art is – what ‘good’ art is. Making at least half of the purchase budget go to artists of colour is part of it. But that is not it. This perspective has to be tilted to start moving towards a more diverse and inclusive museum and world. I think we, as a new generation of makers, have a naturally more open and diverse view on art, art institutes, and other aspects within the creative field and even life itself. The generation of Rein Wolfs should incorporate that new generation within their decision making.  

    You studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, what did you think of it?

    I am not sure about that yet. I think what an academy should try to be is a free space in which you have several people who guide young talent or raw talent through that free space. But of course, it is a school that has to relate to a bureaucratic system of ‘Will you pass or not?‘ and the guides, or teachers as they are called, all look at art in their own way, etc., etc. After the graduation ceremony Gijs Müller, the coordinator of the Image and Language department [where I graduated from], and I were smoking a cigarette when he asked me: What did you miss at the Academy? 

    And for me, that was a performative aspect – as a discipline which can be taught, but also as a way of teaching or as I like to say, guiding. Then he posed the question: Do you want to teach next year? When I was in that bubble of that academy, I didn’t have a distance to find the vocabulary to describe what was wrong or what I thought could be different. But by stepping out of that and entering it differently, as a guest guide, I started researching that. And I still am. How does an academy work? With its board and management, teachers who all want something. But what is the common goal? Phew, I don’t know. An art academy in itself wants to pry itself away from such a bureaucratic school system, but it cannot. But by trying, something does happen. Therefore everything seems possible. It questions itself, and the possibility to question itself creates space. An academy is also a place where art happens, instead of just being shown. There is a continuous conversation about what art is, what it could be, what it can become. In that sense, an art school is more interesting than a museum.

    […] Last year I said to the students: We have the whole city at our disposal, so let’s just take it. So you’re not dependent on a gallery or another kind of art institute.  Of course, that has been done for hundreds of years by street artists, but I think it still has an unexplored potential and I wanted to research that. The conscious choice as an artist to present your work in the public space, outside the white space, a museum, a gallery, or other art institutions. I am now working with that idea for a presentation at FactorIJ later this year titled ‘I’m an Artist, Don’t Call the Police’. In the [first] lockdown, I did a few public performances. In the city, you have the Green Curls, the urinals for men. I started cleaning them as a performance.

    How were those public performances?

    I think it could be beautiful. […] I wanted to focus on the performativity of our daily routines, in this case, on the movement of cleaning something. It also touches on this idea of taking care. I did some try-outs, and now I’m composing a piece to accompany the performance. When it’s a bit warmer, I’ll start cleaning the urinals again.

    It activated me to think more about ‘What is art?’, ‘How does the art world work?’, ‘What do we attach importance to?’, and how I want to be part of it?

    Visit Leendert Vooijce’s website

    Photography by Roman Ermolaev

    Written by Nilsu Göçer



    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

  3. Koen Ebeling Koning

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    OPENING: 6 September 6PM – 9PM

    WHERE: WOW Amsterdam, Green Gallery


    Koen Ebeling Koning (1968, Enschede, NL) makes paintings, often large in size, in response to a drawing or to pictures that he elaborates on in drawings. He himself is often the subject, placed in recognizable surroundings: the atelier, a soccer dug-out, the kitchen, a bedroom. He surrenders himself to an activity: watching, reading, sleeping, painting. In his own words: “I make self portraits, not to show my ego but to exhibit it.” His paintings are snapshots of seemingly unremarkable moments, careless experiences, recognizable for everyone.

    Koning is educated at AKI ARTez Academy for Art & Design in Enschede. During his studies, he accepted the Encouragement Award for Young Artists from the Bijbels Museum (1990). After finishing at AKI, Ebeling Koning studied at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. During his final year (1994), he accepted the Royal Award for Modern Painting, awarded by Queen Beatrix, and won the Paul Citroen Award from Provincie Overijssel. His work has been exhibited in various galleries, including Wetering Gallery (2008), Gallery Van Kranendonk (2009), Gallery Dom’Arte (2011), and Gallery LUMCm (2011). It is also part of many art collections, among which the collections of Museum Het Valkhof, the private collection of the brothers Van der Grinten, and the collection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.