artists & participants
Dutch artist Iris van DONGEN became reknown in the last few years for her portraits of young women, between classicism and contemporary sensitivity. Usually of a large size, mixing pencil, pastel, watercolour and charcoal, each drawing pictures an isolated female character, often facing the viewer, still, almost statuary. Combining references to classical painting with contemporary elements, like objects associated with masculinity, these female characters, at the same time untouchable and vulnerable, dark and romantic, are as many different inside portraits of the artist, often borrowing her features.
While keeping on with her personal activity, Iris van DONGEN is now also part of Kimberly CLARK, a group she created with two other Dutch artists, Josepha de JONG and Ellemieke SCHOENMAKER. Iris van DONGEN's first exhibition in France is also the first official collaboration of this artist group with a subliminal name. Four new drawings by Iris van DONGEN are part of a larger set of works (sculptures, wall paintings and photographs) by Kimberly CLARK, creating a wide and coherent installation.
Wandering in the world of Kimberly CLARK, one goes from the day before the party to the party time, then to the aftermath of the party: from a messy hairdresser, both trash and glamorous, where Medusa's face reflects with a petrifying look between mythology and fairy tale, to a giant turntable spinning on the wall; from a red skeleton coming out of loudspeakers to a bench under which lays a pile of empty cigarette packs and lipsticks.
Three dummies, bearing the artists' clothes, stand as their idealised doubles, as well as an urban and sexy version of the three wise monkeys ('not seeing anything bad, not hearing anything bad, not saying anything bad' as a guideline for behaviour) with the typical gesture of taggers seeking anonymity. The installation is completed with an imposing mural, mixing several pictures from the room in the back. There, under black light, a set of photos, paintings and writings on the walls recall the cathartic night wanderings of the three members of Kimberly CLARK, under the motto 'Carpe nox', equivalent of famous 'Carpe diem' for Gothics.
Between exacerbated femininity and dark mood, release and frustration, and attraction for that very same frustration, the whole installation reflects the three artists' questioning about their identity and image as women at a key point in their lives.
Iris van DONGEN was born in Tilburg (Netherlands) in 1975, Josepha de JONG in Oosterwalde (Netherlands) in 1977, and Ellemieke SCHOENMAKER in Balkburg (Netherlands) in 1969. They live and work in Rotterdam.
Iris van Dongen & Kimberly Clark
Doomed with Grace and Pleasure