September 28, 2007
If you have to be born into a national artistic tradition you could do worse than being born Dutch. The love of natural light, the emphasis on quiet emotional portraits, and the long history of reverence of the everyday interiors gives the modern artist much to chew on whether working within the tradition or in opposition to it. I remember seeing Bert Teuissen’s Domestic Landscapes series for the first time and my first thought, was, "ahh he must be Dutch"- the national DNA is just so embedded in the work.
Another fascinating unmistakably Dutch artist is Hendrik Kerstens. For the last 12 years Kerstens has been almost exclusively photographing his daughter Paula creating photographs that consciously evoke Vermeer and other Dutch masters and yet are unabashedly modern. He’ll make a photograph of his daughter in an archaic hairstyle and in a classic pose, but then you notice her arms peeling from a sunburn. A hoodie will substitute for a 17th century bonnet, and so on... The play between the contemporary and traditional as well as the natural tensions between the photographer and his daughter give the series an unsettling frission and make it worth keeping on your radar.