Defiance by Art
These works show creativity as an alternative to radicalisation which is an awareness framed in terms of opposition or polarizations. These works also foreground a minority viewpoint as an aspect of, among other dimensions of awareness, such as subjectivity, humour, form, the conceptual and the medium is the message.
Sonja van Kerkhoff, born Aotearoa | New Zealand has been based in the the Netherlands (Maastricht 1989-96, The Hague 96-99, Leiden 99-2015, The Hague 2015-) since 1989. She also lives part of the year in Kawakawa, New Zealand.
In the video “19 gay men and the throne of God” the title is overkill and the title shapes the way we might watch them, as men, as gay men, as noble beings, as tourists, as performers. The lifejackets reference safety, support or vulnerability, but here they are also just part of a uniform worn by the men. The focus shifts. Are they performing or walking in the moment. The focus shifts. A community or an assemblage of individuals? The focus shifts. One second the other, the next second brother. And where is this throne of God? In the natural world or in a society where diversity is celebrated.
You honour, I stand here unjustly accused
for having attempted
and this in my only crime
to bring the little woman
into the foreground,
changing the landscape
One of a number of ironic text-image works.
Here the text claims a change in the position of women in society without affecting society. Impossible of course.
“That extreme egoism bred by total involvement”.
That was what I thought of the tutors’ attitudes about making ‘independent’ art. I even gave it “legs” so that it could stand on its own ‘feet’. For my graduation exhibition I dispensed with the object and projected a slide of the text above a doorway.
I realised during this struggle to be taken seriously that dialogue in the art world (whatever that really means) was important to me. And I realise now that much of my anguish was due to isolation and a lack of dialogue.
I am now not so worried about showing my more figure work along side my more text-based work.
There is no need to prove my professional status by a display of consistency.
Context and presentation are important, but
“…consistency is the fetish of small minds.”
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