True faces | Group exhibition with Sytske Frederika van Koeveringe
Outsider Art Galerie
12 - 17 uur
13 July 23 - 02 September 23
It all turned out slightly differently than I had envisioned: when I showed my painted portraits, there was clapping, cheering and my canvases were touched. I had to control myself not to cry with joy, when I see art that I like I want to touch it immediately, and preferably as often as possible.
When I have painted and my work is finished (and I am satisfied with it), I put it on the floor of my working space for a while, I sit on it, lie on it, walk on it, hang my washing above it. It’s like I’ve got a new carpet for a while. My work must first be appropriated before I send it out into the world.
That I would find companions in this, in the first fifteen minutes, I something that I never thought.
Presenting and showing my work went seamlessly into getting started right away. The artists each had a piece of cloth of one meter in front of them and immediately started sketching a portrait with charcoal. I didn’t have to explain anything. No one complained about the material, or that the canvas didn’t stay put, no one had any trouble with ‘the beginning’ at all. Everyone just did and before I knew it the first ones were already painting.
I didn’t have to tell anything about the use of color, in fact I learned from the precision and patience with which they mixed colors.
When I said it’s nice to use gesso instead of white paint, no one asked why: it was mixed and more gesso (or more color) was added during this mixing.
During the hours that passed there was someone who said he was really good at painting, there was someone who made jokes about people outside, there was someone who concentrated on her work, there was someone who walked around every now and then, there was someone who smoked in between, but most of all they worked diligently. I walked from participant to participant and watched how nothing was made into something and thought about other workshops and courses where I spend a lot of time talking about art. Such conversations can be beautiful, but I also find them very often tiring. Because yes, what is an artist? Lately I’ve noticed that I’m bothered by these kinds of conversations.
I don’t know the context of the conversation that is being held, but suddenly I hear: ‘As an artist you show your true face,’ says a female artist. I look at her and from her I look at the man who said he thinks he’s a good painter. And from him I look at the woman who has been silently bent over her portrait for hours. Why have conversations about when you are an artist and what art is, when you can just make art together? Who the hell is the one who still decides what is or isn’t art?
You are an artist or not. You make beautiful things or you don’t. And we have all made a beautiful big piece of art. And I say this loud and proud.
In addition to the group work ‘true faces’ and Sytske’s own work, other portraits are shown by Roos van Lierop (collages), ‘abstract faces’ by Yair Aa and self-portraits made by participants of Bijzonder Amsterdams.
Emerging artist Sytske Frederika van Koeveringe (1988) graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. She is a painter, screen printer and writer. Her second book – Dag nacht licht toch – was nominated for the Jan Hanlo Essay Prize. She is currently working on her fourth book, which will be published by Atlas Contact in January 2024.