Works by: Ruud de Wild, Agniet Snoep, Michelle Aimee
Statement Amstel Gallery for (e)merge art fair
The four contemporary Dutch artists which I would like to present to you at (e)merge art fair are Michelle Aimee (video), Ivo Rijkers (sculptures), Agniet Snoep (photographs) and Ruud de Wild (paintings).
Out of all the artists in the Netherlands, why these you might ask? Because these artists are not only outstanding, their work also has a common thread. It is intense in a way that makes your skin crawl. Somehow it’s about this very human and very unsettling emotion: depression. Human depression is about powerlessness, about having difficulties dealing with events and situations out of your control. Often resulting in hiding and repressing your true feelings, plus an all-encompassing anxiety.
Michelle Aimee thinks that the nature of a depression is ‘Gradually, then suddenly’. In her video we see a beautiful and talented girl, who herself is not aware of these facts. She is locked inside of her own mind. We don’t see happy faces, only activity. No expressions, no contact what so ever. The body becomes an object that needs to look perfect; there are no signs of what is really going on in her soul.
Ivo Rijkers shows masks in which people are suffocating in one way or another. The mask hides true feelings. It has something dark and mysterious. You never see what lies underneath. The material he uses is polyester which he bends en forms and then finishes off with dark grey paint for an extra sinister look.
The photos by Agniet Snoep show insects the way 17th century painters used to paint. The images are so clear they almost look three- dimensional. She captures the light of the past in an unsettling, contemporary way. In depressions people often fear insects as they represent the underworld and darkness. As a contradiction this photographs also show the perfect beauty of the tiniest species of our planet.
Ruud de Wild suffered from major depressions for years. On the 6th of May 2002, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was a guest in his radio show and was assassinated while he walked him to his car. Pim Fortuyn died on the spot and the whole world saw the photographs of this horrible event the day after on all the front pages. The aftermath of this drama haunted Ruud and had a huge impact on his personal life and on his career as an artist. The paintings he makes are a reflection of lyrics, bright colors and graphic characters, often in direct reference to this world-shocking event. They literally ‘Take your breath away’ and give you a personal insight into his bizarre experience.
In the contemporary art I am showing you today you see the positive and the negative effects of depression. Deconstruction versus construction and the past versus the present. I believe very strongly in the future. There is always hope. In the end depressions are overcome, and in the case of these artists, they resulted in beautiful art. Enjoy!