Get To Know | Fleur Ouwerkerk
Who is Fleur Ouwerkerk
Shaheen Merali - a great curator and coach from London who described me in the following words, has best written this:
"Fleur Ouwerkerk (fashion aficionado, photographer, social modalitist) suggests on her website that “I identify myself with the transforming abilities of a chameleon. ….I like to become somebody else every now and then." The shifting persona, the trickster is a survivor, an archetype that she scratches into the alchemy that makes a photograph, revealing the cosmopolitan consciousness of fine suspension of insoluble light-sensitive crystals in a colloid soul."
What kind of projects have you been pursuing lately?
I was honored to have been selected by for the Amsterdam Museum to style the fashion show for the opening of the Puck&Hans exhibition, both as a fashion stylist and artist. Here I was granted the privilege to pick the ‘’cherries’’ from their archive to create looks for my models. I finished these looks with my wearable hand woven hair-objects. In this project both fields of interest I’m active in, art and fashion, came together very well for a crowd of ±1500!
After this, I also got to show my wearable hair art at the Lady Africa runway show during Afrovibes festival at Kunsthal Rotterdam and Theater aan het Spui, The Hague.
What did your first work consist of and what was the idea behind it?
Here I recall the first series of works that were of great influence to my career thus far, and will certainly remain to do so in the future. I am speaking about ‘2NDHead’, a portrait-series of well-known Dutchmen who appeal(ed) to me, both within their area of expertise and their looks.
For me this project was about the visual search in what ways ones appearance corresponds with the personal image and identity. With the familiar faces from TV/music/theatre/fashion you often think you can grasp their personalities, merely because you see their faces frequently. Moreover - even though we, the public, get a one-sided perspective, we – do - quickly form an opinion. Therefore, I portrayed of a group of 9 people (e.g. Bas Kosters and Achmed Akkabi) – first through photography, which, when printed, formed the base the further artistic process. From thereon, I started to follow existing lines in the faces with a needle and from these lines new lines sprouted. I was unaware what this line-wizardry would result in beforehand. Therefore my question was: ‘‘to what limits does the recognizable face uphold? Does it remain dominant? Will it turn out to be a mix or will a new face present itself?’’
These works of mine were the first with which I reached the (national) press - a beautiful article in the AD newspaper titled ‘Fleur trakteert op een tweede hoofd’ (Fleur treats you a second head, red.). This was during my very first exhibition. Since I was still in art academy, this all made a great impression on me.
After this series I started to try a variety of other artistic methods and techniques, but after a few years I returned to my ‘’etching’’ technique where I overdraw and slowly let a drawing fade into a new artwork instead of adding a layer upon the original. Everyday I continue to train and improve my skills regarding that technique. I am happy that as an artist, I have been able to develop my own style and technique and thereby distinguish myself from others in the art spectrum.
What work are you most proud and thrilled of?
The work I’m most proud of is achieving to portray Ahmir Khalib Thompson a.k.a. Questlove of The Roots. Where I normally have women as muses, he, regardless of being a man, was on top of my wish list for years. For me he is the number one living legend that I wanted to portray. Being as obsessed with the material 'hair' as I am in my art, I mainly wanted to portrait him because of his iconic afro with the comb popping out. The portraits displayed at Swordfish & Friend are my first two where I used my technique on and in aluminum. Most notable are the changes in structure that come forward due to the technique. One of these two smaller works has been a pre-study / tryout for a bigger version of a portrait (which is 50x70cm and for sale on my website "iQon’’).
Moreover I am enormously proud of all exhibitions I have been able to enjoy, and all love and positive reactions I have gotten for my work. Personally, there is no bigger honour than people being so psyched or touched by your work, that they purchase it to watch and enjoy it for the rest of their lives.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
That would be the human being itself – hereby I’d like to refer to ethnicity, human behavior, bodily movements, the perception of beauty, beauty-ideals and eccentricity.
What do we non-artists underestimate when it comes to art?
The enrichment that one undergoes (even subconsciously) when enjoying art, in whatever form it may present itself.
What are your current favourite Instagram accounts?
@Johnyuyi, she utilizes her body to create the most unique outcomes – ranging from the print of a face as a sort of tattoo over another face, to a keyboard stripped to its elements covering her breasts, and many more beautiful works.
@kwenasays, she headlines my wishlist for my hair-series ‘The Outstanding’ for sure. She keeps on amazing me when it comes down to her creativity, ingenuity and inventiveness with her looks.
@sally_hewett, breasts and bottoms in all forms and shapes, magically conjured from cloth and filling in a wooden embroidery ring. It is so ‘’REAL’’ it makes me greedy and anxious to have! Hopefully a work from the series shall once shine on my wall.
When on the wall - framed or without?
Answer C! Haha. To me personally, presentation is extremely important, because I absolutely do not want that the presentation of my work might neglect the quality of it. Or if the work is very fragile, I wouldn't want it to damage easily.
Often I use dibond for my artworks, where a hidden hanging system ties it nicely on the wall and the differences in structure and texture I added to the photograph remain visible and do not disappear behind a glass layer. Those objects are often fit to hang freely on the wall, because they have enough ''body'' to remain a static look, where it could otherwise end up looking messy. The two objects of hair hanging at Swordfish & Friend contrastingly look better when framed. In this case I used a box-frame, giving the artworks space to hang freely and not be squashed and flattened within a regular frame. For each artwork, I prefer to choose a specific approach.
CV Fleur Ouwerkerk
2017 Amsterdam, WM Gallery 'Capillary Culture, the centrality of hair' 2017 Almere, KAF, 'House of Arts / Magical Mystery Tour'
2016 Amsterdam, WM Gallery 'Paper Works'
2015 Amsterdam, Unseen 'Common Ground'
2015 Amsterdam, FramerFramed 'Ancestral Blues'
2015 IJsselstein, Meuseum Ijsselstein 'Aanstormend talent bij MIJ' 2015, Amsterdam, Galerie Joghem, Sanquin 'afscheid Bouke Bottelier' 2015 Zeist, PGGM 'Een zoektocht naar identiteit'
2014 Naarden, Galerie Pouloeuff ‘De stemming van het moment’ 2013 Nijmegen, 3eWal ‘Womanhood/Robinhood’
2013 Utrecht, Centraal Museum, ‘Blue Jeans’
2012 Amsterdam, Foamlab in De Verdieping ‘Shortcut’
2012 Utrecht, Kunstliefde ‘De nacht ruikt anders’
2012 Amsterdam, Galerie Joghem, ‘Karma, Chameleon’
2011 Amsterdam, MC Theater, ‘Zwart van roet’
2011 Utrecht, ’t Hoogt, ‘A Woman’s Veil’
2011 Rotterdam, Roodkapje mini shop, ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ 2011 Amsterdam, Walls Gallery, ‘Young At Heart’
2011 Utrecht, HKU ateliergebouw, ‘Exposure’
2011 Aarhus (Denemarken), Galleri Image, ‘Piertopia’
2009 Utrecht, Lock & Load, ‘2NDHead’
2017 June, Ode aan Puck & Hans, Runway Show, Amsterdam Museum
2016 July- September, Artwalk Bellamybuurt 'Changing Narratives' Amsterdam Heden,
2015 -Present, Mede-oprichter en lid kunstenaarscollectief DrawMe Nearer (www.drawmenearer.com)
2014 June, gastspreker 'Good Hair Festival' Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
2012 October, FoamLab, Shortcut, ‘a one day expo challenge’, Foam, 2014 Amsterdam
2011-Present, member of artcollective 'State of L3' (www.stateofl3.com)
2011-2012 De Belofte 7, Kunstliefde Utrecht
2017 'Museumtijdschrift' no.5, artikel 'Museum en Meer'
2012 ‘What’s Up’ magazine 2012 nummer 11, artikel ‘What’s on Stage’
2012 ‘Smile in Your Face’ website, artikel ‘My name is: Fleur Ouwerkerk’
2011 ‘Het Parool’ krant 01-09-2011, artikel ‘Kleurrijke zoektocht naar identiteit’
2011 ‘Contrast’ magazine jaargang 18 nummer 7, cover en artikel ‘The State of L3’ 2009 ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ krant december 2009, ‘Fleur trakteert op een tweede hoofd’
Pre-education HKU | 2006-2007
Bachelor of Fine Art HKU | 2007-2011