Temporal Illusions. How James Holmes Went From Shy Nerd To Accused Cold-Blooded Killer? 2013
Installation of three diorama’s boxes suspended from the ceiling, soundtrack and staged photos. Painted MDF, metal, door pepe-hole lenses, plasticine, papier-mâché, wood, glass and textile. Soundtrack: 9 minutes, dimension boxes: 50x45x50/ 50x48x26.5 / 50x 26.5×26.5 cm
When I saw the newspaper photos of the mass-murderer James Holmes sitting in court, July 2012, I felt recognition and empathy. This feeling both frightened and fascinated me. Shouldn’t I feel repulsion? Could I fall in love with such a horrific person? I started to read articles about Holmes’s background: where did he grow up? Who were his parents? It inspired me to write a personal story – a mixture of autobiography and fantasy, fact and fiction. Later on, the story also became part of the installation. Listen to the full story online.
Habeas Corpus 2010 – 2013 A series of stories and sculptures, 2013
Literally, the Latin phrase Habeas Corpus means: ‘you have the body’. Habeas Corpus is a writ, requiring a person under arrest to appear before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person’s release, unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention. Habeas Corpus is thus about the right to have control over one’s own body. I choose to use this term as a title for a series of sculptures and installations that deals with the common subject: free will. I was preoccupied with this theme for a long time: to what extend do we have control over our deeds and emotions? Are we a kind of ‘machines’ determined by genetics, gender, upbringing, origin or brain-structure? In other words: do we ‘have a body’ or are we a body?
Habeas Corpus 2009
Pleader’s Prayer 2008 – 2009 Mixed-media installation: painted wooden furniture, papier-mâché, wax, pigment, metal wire, animations (colour, loop, no sound) and sound: a poem (set to music) by Hannah Senesh: Eli, Eli, (my God, My God) sung by a Dutch man. Dimensions structure: 300 X 160 X 120 cm (HxBxL). Equipment: 7 TV’s 37cm, 7 DVD’s, 1 CD player, 1 car speaker.
Pleader’s Prayer was inspired by the allegorical medieval paintings of the Last Judgement and of the Virgin of Mercy. It was developed as a metaphor for contemporary social and political reality, with an emphasis on topics such as immigration, xenophobia, cultural alienation and anxiety. The installation also examines how these socio-political issues influence the private domain, for example the relationship between man and woman. Politicians in the Netherlands involved in major disputes regarding immigration and integration, are portrayed in the animations in the Pleader’s Prayer (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, Pim Fortuyn and Rita Verdonk). Towering above them all, not Jesus, but a layer, a pleader singing a prayer, defending humanity despite its evil nature.
Crime Scenes 2006 – 2007 Mixed-media installations composed of ceramic sculptures, décor, video projections and staged photos
In 2005, I moved in to live with my boyfriend in a studio apartment in Rotterdam West. It had a beautiful old bay window with a view of the park and the city centre. In spring, when the trees turned green, it seemed like we were living in an aquarium, or in the Garden of Eden. Though the décor was lovely, our relationship was sometimes shadowed by dark feelings such as shame, guilt, and fear of abandonment. We each had a past – unsuccesful relationships or, as in my case, the loss of a former boyfriend in a diving accident. The ordinary domestic surroundings turned, in my imagination, into crime scenes: shirts hung up to dry could also look like the skin of a flayed man.
I was also inspired by the well-known Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid, and by the Greek myth about the Sirens. These stories helped me to distance myself somewhat from my personal experience, and provided room for some irony and self-mockery. Watch video online: Become One
Crime Scenes 2006 – 2007 Mixed-media installations composed of ceramic sculptures, décor, video projections and staged photos. Watch video online: Become One
Leben? Oder Theater? Homage to Charlotte Salomon. 2004 Mixed-media installation: black and white photocopies glued on MDF, sculpture made of plaster, paraffin wax, cotton bandage and pigment, rotating electric motors, the kind to spit-roast meat. Sculpture dimentions: 160 cm high décor 240 cm high (variable width)
The news about the concrete barrier wall that Israel was building around the West Bank provoked contradictory feelings in me. On the one hand, I could understand the fear; I had lived in Jerusalem during a six-year period afflicted by many suicide terror attacks. On the other hand, I could imagine that a person living under occupation and repression with no future perspective, could loose his will to live and might consider suicide. During the same period I suffered from frequent panic attacks that appeared unexpectedly and had no external or objective reason. It made me into a miserable person. I wanted to ‘bury’ myself behind a concrete wall and never leave my house. It was then, that I got to know the work of Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943) Life? Or Theatre? which moved me deeply. Salomon was investigating the tragic fate of her family that was ‘cursed’ with a plague of suicides, among them her mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother. In the period when Charlotte was a refugee in France, after she fled the Nazis in Berlin, she started to work on Leben? Oder Theater? As she testified in the epilogue of her book, she discovered that making this artwork ‘might possibly preserve her from suicide’.*
In this installation I have merged my personal fears and doubts with the political situation in Israel and with Charlotte Salomon’s story and courage.