Artist Statement

Bart Houwers (1997) is fascinated by the relationship between man/nature and how this relationship has an, often, painful historical/cultural development. He comes from the Dutch countryside, from a family of farmers. Through rationalization and modernization, the (Dutch) countryside and landscape has been undergoing severe changes for decades. These changes have resonated with the people who live there, and in his work he investigate these changes. Through sculptures, installations and site-specific works, notions like: memory, micro-histories, (post-Protestant) tradition, guilt and loss are being explored. His artistic practice deals, partly and in idiosyncratic ways, with the post-protestant tradition. A tradition he grew up in, and in which the Word is central above the image. Which is why he often use pre-existing materials in relation to language. There is a sense of playing with quotes, at the same time it transcends the quote and manipulates what is quoted. Resulting in, seemingly, incoherent fragments.

Bart on his graduation project:

“For my graduation project, I took my father’s overalls apart, completely, thread by thread. An action that refers to the irrevocable changes in the (Dutch) countryside. Another work I made for my graduation is a project in which I transported the doors of the oldest barn from our farm to the Rietveld Academie for the duration of the Graduation Show. This migration movement was given the title ‘Voor wankelen behoedt’ (translated: Will not slumber). This phrase comes from Psalm 121. A well-known pilgrimage song from the songbook, which is recited by Protestant farmers when unavoidable or severe changes await. The work attempts to connect different worlds and investigates the urban/rural relationship. After the exhibition, the doors, which have gained new layers of memory, were placed back in the barn.”