During a two months working period in Suriname in 2013-14 I played the part of a cultural conqueror, exploring a former colony as a temporary Dutch citizen. Prior to the trip, I didn’t inform myself about the country at all and upon arrival the similarities as well as the differences came to me very blatantly. The textile designs of the Maroon are made with primary colors, resembling the paintings and philosophy of De Stijl. For the Maroons, symmetry is central to the aesthetics: the symmetry of the body is ideal. I made cut outs in the Maroon textiles to find a visual metaphor and harmony between myself, the city and the landscape. Through the holes we see colors that are not related with the philosophy of De Stijl like the green forest color that Mondrian never used in his abstract paintings.
The work continued in Europe, trying to reconquering the colonizer with sculptures of its own mass production and desire for constant progress. I cut out parts of collected waste objects with shapes of the simplicity of Mondrian and Rorschach abstraction and added painting so that the UFO-shaped objects relate to a human, almost tribal claiming of the European land. It is a post-colonial vicious circle in which cultures take on other traditions in order to progress.
Project generously supported by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst