kunstenaar, componist en bemiddellaar, daniellelemaire.nl
kunst activator en curator, kunstenplatform Etoile du Nord, etoiledunord.nl
hoofdcurator bij WillemTwee in Den Bosch en onafhankelijk curator. lindakoke.com
Gilbert de Bontridder Award 2023:
Yesterday, Linda Köke, Ad van Rosmalen and I had the chance to admire the final projects of eleven Art Institute graduates as members of the jury for the Gilbert de Bontridder Award.
We were able to browse the digital repository ‘Heat Signature’ beforehand to get a glimpse of how each artist had linked text to their work in their own way. In some cases, the text and visuals complemented each other perfectly, while they deliberately clashed in others. For example, we saw Marie’s collage-like hide-and-seek game with text, Fera’s handwritten diary entries, Moira’s letters to herself, Myong Hee’s streams of consciousness, written down while cooking with family, and text from Python script that appeared in Daisy’s installation.
This allowed us to share stories and talk in depth with everyone during our visit, which was wonderful. We noticed that many of the graduates are very focused on what their parents and ancestors have passed down in terms of values and love for culture. For many, it was important to intertwine the bond with their parents and ancestors with abstract or other elements in their installations in some way: we saw drawings inherited from a student’s architect grandfather, an indigenous poem by a student’s grandmother from Suriname, the hair of a student’s mother who once ran a funeral home and skin of a student’s loved ones in a sculpture. These elements convey closeness and a search for connection.
We also saw how some sought to create a space in their work to share the intimacy of ‘the little things’, the human experience and respect for all living things, the earth and its original, threatened resources with the public. The conversations with visitors and their participation in the work itself sometimes played a role as well, as with Anne-Sophie’s and Niekeline’s projects. We saw the focus on the soft and the intimate as a counterpart to the hard threat that systems in society can sometimes present. The respect – not only for people, but also for animals and plants – resonated in mixed-media installations.
Relationships with the world of technology, robots, computers and the internet – at times intensified during the pandemic – were used as tools for research and installation work. Daisy transports the viewer into a dystopian digital imagination that includes her own voice. We also saw a modern-day artificial world depicted by Zoef, who takes the viewer along in a playful transformation of which she is the ultimate director. Niekeline creates processes that take on a new shape of their own: a fascinating interaction between the inner and outer world of the body.
As the jury, we felt that, for one participant, all the elements that made the work a strong whole were greater than the sum of its parts. She has created a beautiful piece that combines knowledge of art and art history, originality and craftsmanship. We found her work to be authentic, critical and unique.
She has managed to link this convincing presentation to a convincing vision of artistry, the intentional search for her own position and the responsibility that goes along with it. She wants to bring about change with her attitude as an autonomous artist, and she is not afraid to take a critical look at the art world.
The jury declares Moira Pikaart the winner of the Gilles de Bontridder Award. Her large work on textile measuring 15 x 2.50 metres was meticulously crafted, step by step, with handmade pigments 'untainted by violence'. She is very intent about continuing her practice with the awareness that her work is making a social impact and helping to create a fairer world. She does this not by shouting empty slogans, but by taking meaningful action in a world in which relationships are completely out of balance.
We are confident that Moira Pikaart will carve out her own path in the field. It is sure to be tough, but her tenacity and sensitivity will help her along the way. With the funds from the Gilbert de Bontridder Award, she will certainly feel supported as she takes her first steps on that journey.
Danielle Lemaire, Ad van Rosmalen en Linda Köke