Joris Kuipers

How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your art practice?
My work finds its origin in historic, scientific and/or anatomic sources ranging from the woodcuts by Andreas Vesalius to CT-scans, MRI-scans, autopsy images and the plastinations by Gunther von Hagens. As in medical practice, I dissect the body layer by layer. After this fragmentation, the body is rearranged in a non-rational manner, in order to reveal emotional significance. The focus in my recent work is on the deconstruction of bodies and heads, inspired by a Tibetan Buddhist ritual, where the body of a deceased person is cut up in pieces in order to set the soul free.

Within the context of my installations, the opened bodies (Goodbye George…), weightlessness and physically hovering of the colorful installation (Vollig Losgelost) has a more spiritual meaning. The skinless bodies and the more abstract dissolving human head refers to hallucinating as a desire to escape, and in a wider, deeper context to letting go of one’s ego.

In Goodbye George, burn the ship come spring, there is a sense of vulnerability, delicate bodies dangling from fragile lines, I’m curious what initiates your interest in organic forms.
I guess my fascination for organic forms started when I realized (during my Master studies) that the human existence had become the main theme of my work. At some point, I started to look inside the body, in search of intimacy, while I was mingling bodies together. Later on, I realized that showing a body without a skin took away the identity of an individual, so I was more able to say something about existence in general.

Your work seems to heavily relate to the body; what do you hope to say using the metaphor of the body?
In my work the body functions as an actor who is revealing human existential desires. The opened body literally stands for the idea of showing oneself vulnerable. Next to this I find the inner human body very fascinating by its great variations of structures, colors and shapes.

All the titles for your projects are incredibly rich and descriptive. Where do they come from – your imagination or something you’ve read?
The titles are sometimes constructions of pop songs and personal references. They are meant to show that the works should be interpreted as a process.
Is there anything you’re presently inspired by – anything you’re reading, listening to, or looking at?
I’m listening to Alt-J and sermons like Four Ways of Letting Go by Ajahn Brahm. I’m also looking at Baroque churches as total art installations.
Is there something you are currently working on or excited about that you can talk about?
At the moment, I am working on a new series of hanging sculptures of even more deformed human bodies, which will literally float and be freed from gravity. The working title is ‘Dislocate/Celebrate. In this series I try to use bright colours on the body parts.
What is your studio like? How do you make the space work for you?
My studio is my ‘laboratory’, and ‘playground’. It is a dirty place since I am a physical artist working from an empirical basis. It is a flexible place where furniture moves around the process of making…
Has your practice been influenced by other artists?
I like the work of Karin Arink (NL) , Thomas Rentmeister (DE),  and Karla Black (UK).What do you think is the function of art in society? Do you think artists hold a certain responsibility?
On this question, I prefer not to speak for other artists, but only for myself as an visual artist. With my work I try to give the viewer an experience of beauty, confusion or catharsis. My work functions content-wise more on a personal level… I don’t know if art can work on a political level….Do you have any advice for young artists?
FUCK THE JUDGE! (Quote from Anne Rochette whom I met at my first residence at Sundaymorning at EKWC)While in process, it is of great importance to be open for all options your work can lead to and not be judged for ‘strange’ unconventional ideas. Creating is a vulnerable process only courageous people can take…

Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events?
I will be featured in a book, Unexpected Art, as well as a group show at Museum Gornichem on 20 Dutch artists working with paper as their medium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *