The sixth edition of the Voorwerk exhibition series features five young Dutch artists: Raymond Cuijpers, Annemiek de Beer, Madeleine Berkhemer, Philippine Hoegen and Vanessa Jane Phaff.

Raymond Cuijpers

Raymond Cuijpers’s (Geleen, 1973) work is based on various aspects of football and his own experiences as a player. Especially for this exhibition Cuijpers stages a presentation of his work in and around Rita McBride’s Arena, touching on the commercial, mystical, political and economical parameters of the game. Interviewing himself, Cuijpers asks:

RC: Is football art?
RC: No, I don’t think so. I think they are two separate entities which reach similar heights. The only difference is that football is based on a different layer of society from art: football is for the crowd and art for the so-called elite. Football is much more of a mass event; there is a tremendous concentration of energy in the stadium. Take England, where fathers take their sons along to see their club play; it’s a deeply rooted emotion that you’d never find in art. Art is for the mind, football is a gut feeling, football is aggression. Top football is becoming increasingly dominated by political and economical interests, but a top footballer’s purely physical and mental explosions are more violent than an artist’s, I think.
RC: So you think that top footballers are “greater” than great artists?
RC: Top footballers are heroes, idols. What I’m trying to say is that football has a far more direct impact and starts much earlier on in life. Art is much more indirect; its influence is only apparent when you start thinking about it. Art is also very ambiguous, though. Anyone can see that Dennis Bergkamp is a good player, but is Richter a good painter?

football diagrams

Annemiek de Beer

While painting, Annemiek de Beer (Bolsward, 1971) fuses different kinds of subject-matter which she finds in art, in the street or in advertisements. Characteristic of her recent paintings are the different ways in which she combines the flatness of the two-dimensional surface with the suggestion of perspective in one and the same painting. Graphic and painterly elements merge, this results in layered paintings in which lines and areas of color are constantly reversed, seeming to advance and recede alternately and creating an impression of transparency.

Madeleine Berkhemer

Taking fashion and art as her points of departure, Madeleine Berkhemer (Bergen op Zoom, 1973) employs a wide range of media (drawings, collages, wall-sculptures, installations, live presentations and clothes designs) in her investigation of the female body and contemporary culture. The enormous tension in the construction of her large, futuristic and insect-like sculptures made of panty-hose knotted together is illustrative of the powerful charge and ambiguous sexuality of her work. Berkhemer’s provocative, minimal clothes designs emphasize feminine contours and issue an uncompromising commentary on fashion design practice. At the opening of Voorwerk 6 there will be a special presentation called I SPY.

Philippine Hoegen

Philippine Hoegen (Kitzbühel, Austria, 1970) shows how mirrors present us with an image of ourselves in relation to our surroundings. She demonstrates this by photographing herself in a place where that phenomenon is hard to exploit: in the cramped, anonymous space of department-store fitting rooms. In her latest series of works the facial expressions of her subjects are the only clue that these are photographs of mirror images. Intimate (self-)portraits, their gazes expresses both a search for recognition and the image one has of oneself on the basis of one’s reflected image.

Vanessa Jane Phaff

With the techniques she employs (pencil and felt-tip pen drawings and lino-printed paintings reminiscent of coloring pictures) Vanessa Jane Phaff (Tarleton, England, 1965) refers directly to the world of children, the impudent stars of her works. Unlike the image society has of children, these kids are not innocent and vulnerable but proud, brash and at times even malevolent. The details in Phaff’s work speak volumes; they suggest but do not explain the charged context and background of what has just taken place. In her latest series of works the youngsters seem to have deliberately staged the suggestive symbolism of their setting.