During my work period of the Young Talent Stipend, I intend to publish some of my thoughts every month. Left of this page (or top if you are using a mobile device), you will find an overview of categories. Select ‘Mondriaan Fund’ for an overview of all publications written during my work period.
#1 Augustus 2020
I am typing this sitting on the quay in my hometown of Rotterdam. I look out over the water, searching for tranquility. Trying to write down what my experience was this first month.
Thoughts interrupt thoughts.
I could say a lot about the impact of COVID-19, the value of things standing still. I think back to the purgatory between application and acceptance. I notice the present tension between financial freedom and the felt obligation to excel the most of every second to come.
Writing a clear reflection at the end of this month quickly turns out to be an illusion. There is too little distance for a meaningful perspective. Still, I will write and publish some of it here. The start of my Mondriaan timeline. For which we need to go back to my preparations for my application.
After my residency in Barcelona, I noticed how nice it had been to have time. Going back to the Netherlands meant less time to tinker and test my new installation. I knew then that if I wanted to progress as an artist, I had to find the opportunity to work unhindered for a longer period of time.
Starting 2020 I wrote, thought, and discussed my work for about half an hour almost every day. Spending a little time each day on the application gave me a routine, which helped me to let go of the ultimate goal [getting the grant] and work on my personal growth. In a year and a half after graduating, I had done a lot except standing still. Now, the distance in time made it possible to notice the underlying patterns of my choices, and with that a better perspective on how my work is evolving.
My fascination with printing devices started during my Illustration study. I was looking for a way to reanimate the dull repetition of production. My first device Printer 1.0, is an analog printing machine that could produce an endless pattern. A homage to tactile devices. Producing a print was the main goal. Since then the machine has moved to the foreground. The print is no longer the intended goal but confirms the machine. Reawaken and Test Installation Cognizant are two kinetic printing installations that I developed with the machine in mind. Although both works produce abstract prints on paper, they are primarily visualizations of my quest for imagination and beauty around technology.
After graduating, I have shown my work a lot, including at the Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven), the International Film Festival (Rotterdam), and the Paratext at my residency in Barcelona. During these specific exhibitions, I have experienced the value of my presence next to the installation. During the Dutch Design Week several motors broke. Instead of doing “maintenance” after closing time, I decided to do the repairs for the public. This decision has led to reflection on my presence and the resulting actions required for the installation to function. By turning on the work, some elements or gears jump. These vulnerabilities cannot be resolved by the machine itself. In itself it is helpless.
I have increasingly come to see the interaction between me and the work as a performance, in which the machine is the performer and I the assistant. As a person, I am not the lead act because the performative actions do not necessarily have to be performed by me. For the International Film Festival, I wrote instructions so that someone else could switch on and correct Testinstallation Cognizant. The instructions felt like a poem that became part of my work.
My print installations started with a focus on the print. Reawaken and Testinstallation Cognizant shifted the focus to the machine, with the print confirming the machine. With my new steps, the machine develops into a performer and the print into a memento of performance.
Thank you for reading.
To be continued.