One of the most memorable curations I visited was Expo Eden by Daan Kneppers. Daan and his art collective Vagabond had to abandon their workspace at the historic Stadstimmertuin in Amsterdam and decided to pay one last tribute to their Genesis. At Expo Eden I met the visual artist Philine van den Hul. When I asked her to introduce herself she started to sing Suzanne by Leonard Cohen. This is my portrait of Philine for the reference booklet of Expo Eden.
“And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind.”
The ode to Suzanne by Leonard Cohen perfectly describes the desire Philine van den Hul evokes in you. Her energy is bubbling, but can’t be bottled. Her passion is contagious but will she let you contribute? All you can pray for is that she “takes your hand and leads you to the river” and “shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers”.*
Surrealism is Philine’s religion and her unconscious is her mentor. This results in the creation of vibrant drawing sculptures and adsorbing line plays. None of the lines she visualizes are flat, yet they encompass as little room as possible. There houses as much, or perhaps even more emotion, in the physical matter as in the rest space. “Damage by using” is how she describes her artistic and at the same time, sustainable vision.
The floor sculpture she created for Expo Eden, blended in with the room as if it has been part of the Stadstimmertuin since 1850. “No baby knows it’s an artwork” Philine stated as she witnessed the audience thoughtlessly dance on top of her creation. Consciously, perhaps not. Yet, it steals your attention, sucks you in like a void and guides you through the expo like a curator, towards a climax of creativity.
Philine didn’t have to think twice, once Daan asked her to contribute to Expo Eden. “Daan is one of those people who nodded at me from the start as if he wanted to say ‘Hello Philine, pleased to finally meet you on planet earth. What took you so long’”. The opening night of the expo was a memorable one for Philine as she sprained her ankle four times. “To the floor with drinks in my hands” she recalls. “I only twitch when I twinkle..”
If you follow Philine on instagram you might have noticed that geometry has made way for organic fluidity. Curious to see how Philine “holds her mirror.”* New work will soon be on show at gallery Root in Rotterdam.
“And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind. And you know that you can trust her. For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind."
* Quotes from Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
Words by Juliette Sijnja