How the project started
This last period I've taken a step back to re-examine the past six years of my art practice. I've been inspecting the content and definition of my work and looking for ways to expand and develop the themes that are present in it.
Right now I have the opportunity to focus on this, thanks to the "Vrije Beurs Praktijkverdieping" grant of the Mondriaan Fund and the support of Plaatsmaken.
Some elements I'd like to explore are about the physical creation of the artwork, for instance the exploration of different printmaking techniques and crossovers between these techniques. Other things I'm exploring are the possibilities of collaborating with and learning from other artists, musicians, storytellers etc.
Through my independent reading and research I aim to achieve a more solid, textual exploration of my subject matter.
Currently I'm working at Plaatsmaken, learning new etching techniques and improving my silkscreenprinting skills.
About the title
Mannigfuald is the mythical ship that brought the Frisian people to the Netherlands. The ship was constructed from the entire Frisian fleet; all the ships where broken down and the wood was used to build one enormous vessel containing the entire Frisian population. It is rumoured the ship was so large that the captain had to ride around on a horse to shout instructions to the crew and the cook needed a small boat and oars to stir the soup.
Although I was born there, I never really appreciated the Frisian culture until much later. I've been fascinated by old stories and mythical creatures and have incorporated them in my art but I was always focusing on exotic cultures in South America and Asia. Now I want to reel in my gaze and explore European myth.
The story of the Mannigfuald comes from a collection of Frisian Myths and Sagas by J.P. Wiersma. The image of this mythical ship is a metaphor for the project I'm embarking on; to explore folklore, sagas, legends, storytelling and local superstition in Europe and find a connecting factor. Like the Mannigfuald was built out of several ships I want to build a body of art based on the scattered stories of different European cultures. It strikes me how each country, region and village has their own defining myths but how, at the same time, there seem to be lots of similarities between these different stories throughout Europe.
I'm also fascinated by more contemporary storytelling and the phenomenon of inventing myths and projecting them into the past.
(Like the "Oera Linda" Saga in Friesland, a nineteenth century falsified chronicle about the origins of the Frisian race).
First stop: Ireland
Since Ireland has such a rich tradition in storytelling and Mythology I chose it as a starting point for exploration. The first phase of my research will consist of travelling, reading, writing, sketching, meeting storytellers and simultaneously working out all this input in my printmaking. I will be a visiting artist at the Cork Printmaking Studio. Through my website and blog I will keep posting about this project.
Working period and exhibition at Plaatsmaken
After my two month stay in Ireland I will continue my working period at Plaatsmaken. The results of the Mannigfuald project will be shown during a solo exhibition at Plaatsmaken in the spring of 2017