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Biografie Agniet Snoep 1968
Mijn eerste tentoonstelling na de Rietveld (VAV, Voorheen AudioVisueel) was de groepstentoonstelling Couplet IV in het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (1995). Mijn eindexamenwerk "Het wegsterven van een glimlach" werd daar getoond. Ik had in het Stedelijk willekeurige bezoekers gevraagd om te poseren voor een draaiende videocamera en op een gegeven moment vroeg ik ze om aan iets naars te denken. De vertraagde verandering van hun gelaatsuitdrukking die daarop volgde, legde ik vast. Die beelden heb ik met hulp van technici, verbonden aan Montevideo, eerst gedigitaliseerd en toen gekoppeld aan een elektronisch orgel. Door op een toets te drukken komt een portret tevoorschijn. Hoe langer de toets werd aangeraakt, hoe verder hun oorspronkelijke glimlach 'wegstierf'. Met een voetpedaal kon het beeld worden stilgezet en de beweging twee seconden herhaald. De toeschouwer kreeg op die manier aan de ene kant het gevoel mensen te kunnen manipuleren maar werd aan de andere kant geraakt door de herkenning van het verdriet in het gelaat van de mensen.
Met de hulp van een startstipendium en door het geven van cursussen heb ik mij in de jaren daarna kunnen richten op het ontwikkelen van mijn eigen digitale beeldvaardigheden, zoals foto- en videobewerking en het maken van mijn website. De opleiding VAV was nog geheel analoog en voldoende krachtige computers en software waren erg duur. Toch wilde ik voor mijn werk niet meer afhankelijk zijn van anderen en zocht naar een manier om het hele artistieke proces in eigen hand te houden. Ik heb in die jaren weinig autonoom werk kunnen maken maar deze periode was cruciaal voor mijn artistieke ontwikkeling.
Geheel digitaal vaardig en onafhankelijk, begon ik vanaf 2005 weer autonoom werk te maken. Eerst was dat vooral digitaal gemanipuleerde fotografie. Vanaf 2009 kon ik dit werk geregeld tentoonstellen. Ik werd opgenomen bij een galerie die mijn werk meenam naar beurzen in Europa en de Verenigde Staten waar het goed verkocht. Een deel van het verdiende geld kon ik investeren in nieuwe, krachtige computers en geavanceerde software zodat ik uiteindelijk vanaf 2013 weer digitaal bewegend beeld kon gaan maken.
Een doorbraak was de opdracht die ik kreeg in 2013 voor een museum in Straatsburg, het musée Vodou. De eigenaar, een beroemde Franse verzamelaar van voodoo objecten, vroeg mij een werk te maken voor zijn nieuwe museum. Ik heb daarvoor enkele van zijn objecten gefotografeerd en door digitale manipulatie tot leven gewekt met daarbij zelf gecomponeerde geluidsfragmenten. De installatie was een groot succes en heeft nog steeds een prominente plaats in het museum. Geholpen door de voortschrijdende technische ontwikkeling en de jarenlange investering in de ontwikkeling van digitale vaardigheden was ik ook weer terug bij de techniek en inhoud van mijn eindexamenwerk, die ik vanaf nu geheel zelf in de vingers had. Geluid, portretten, gemoedstoestanden. Sinds 2013 heb ik mij dan ook weer volledig toegelegd op bewegend beeld. Ik werd opgenomen bij Cityscapes Foundation en ReutenGalerie, beide in Amsterdam. In 2017 heeft AkzoNobel het werk "Obsidian" van mij aangekocht dat vanaf 19 april 2018 zal worden tentoongesteld.
Een belangrijke inspiratiebron voor de werken Obsidian en Paradise Lost, is het boek Paradise Lost (1667) van John Milton. In het bijzonder de uitgave met de prenten van Gustave Doré (1866). Paradise Lost gaat over de strijd tussen God en de Duivel maar is geschreven vanuit het perspectief van de Duivel. De scènes waarin de Duivel terugkeert als een slang, Eva verleidt en zij samen met Adam wordt verbannen, zijn prachtig beschreven en geïllustreerd. Op het moment dat Eva het paradijs verlaat en de wereld binnentreedt zegt zij: "Elsewhere, everything seems desolate and inhospitable, unknown to us and unknown with us.”
Dit nieuwe werk, "Paradise Lost" laat de wereld zien die aan Eva voorbij trekt nadat zij het paradijs moest verlaten. Desolaat, onbewoonbaar en apocalyptisch. Onbekend voor haar en onbekend met haar. Rotsen, woestijn, hoogspanningskabels en verlaten bunkers. Zwervers en honden scharrelen rond. Er worden gaten gegraven maar het is niet duidelijk waarom. Op de achtergrond klinken geluiden die niet zijn thuis te brengen. Op vier verschillende, vrijstaande monitoren worden fragmenten van de wereld getoond met het eerder genoemde citaat van Eva.
Wegsterven van een glimlach, 1994, Stedelijk Museum
Werkt in Amsterdam.
contact Bastiaan Gribling, Noortje Tan
contact Antoinette Reuten
collection AkzoNobel Art Foundation
Agniet Snoep 1968
My first exhibition after the Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam, was the group exhibition Couplet IV in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (1995). My graduation work, the video installation "The fading of a smile", was shown there. I had asked random visitors at the Stedelijk to pose for a video camera and at one point I asked them to think of something sad. I recorded the delayed change in their facial expression that followed. I first digitized those images with the help of technicians at the Montevideo art gallery and then linked them to a keyboard. By playing the keys, people appeared on a screen. The longer the key was touched, the more their original smile faded. With a foot pedal the image could be frozen and the movement repeated for two seconds. By doing so, the viewer got the feeling on the one hand of being able to manipulate people, but was on the other hand being touched by the recognition of the sadness in people's faces.
With the help of a stipend for emerging artists, and by teaching classes and doing small paid-for projects, I was able to focus on developing my own digital image skills during the following years, such as photo and video editing and creating websites. My training at the Art Academy was completely analogue and sufficiently powerful computers and software were very expensive for a beginning artist. But I did not want to be dependent on others for my work and I was looking for a way to keep the entire artistic process in my own hands. I did not make a lot of autonomous work in those years, but this period was crucial for my artistic development.
Entirely digitally skilled and independent, I started to make autonomous work again from 2005 on. First, this was mainly digitally manipulated photography. From 2009, I could regularly exhibit this work. I was supported by a gallery that took my work to art fairs in Europe and the United States where my work sold pretty well despite the financial crisis. I was able to invest part of the earned money in new, more powerful computers and software so that in the end I could start using digital moving images and make video installations again from 2014 onwards.
A breakthrough was a project for a museum in Strasbourg, the Musée Vodou, in 2013. The owner, a famous French collector of voodoo objects, asked me to make a work for his new museum. I photographed some of his objects and I brought them to life by digital manipulation with self-composed soundscapes. These were projected on the inside of an old water tower. The installation was a great success and it still has a prominent place in the museum. Stimulated by the advancing technical developments and the years of investment in the development of my digital skills, I had returned to the video installations of my graduation work, which I mastered totally from now on.
Since 2013 I have completely focused on moving images and video installations again. I have been supported by galleries CityScapes and Reuten, both in Amsterdam. In 2017, AkzoNobel also purchased a video installation ("Obsidian") from me that will be exhibited in their headquarters' art space in 2018.
For some of my recent works, I became inspired by Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton, in particular the edition with the prints of Gustave Doré (1866). Paradise Lost is about the battle between God and the Devil but is written from the perspective of the Devil. The scenes in which the Devil returns as a serpent, seduces Eve, and she and Adam are banished, is beautifully described and illustrated. When Eve leaves the Garden of Eden and enters the world she says: "Elsewhere, everything seems desolate and inhospitable, unknown to us and unknown with us."
My work, "Paradise Lost", shows the world revealed to Eve after she had to leave the Garden of Eden. Desolate, uninhabitable and apocalyptic. Unknown to her and unknown with her. Rocks, desert, high voltage cables and abandoned bunkers. Homeless people and dogs roam around. Giant holes are being dug, but it is not clear why. Unfamiliar sounds are heard in the background. On four different free-standing monitors, fragments of the world are shown with Eve's lamentation projected.
Works and lives in Amsterdam.
contact Bastiaan Gribling, Noortje Tan
contact Antoinette Reuten
collection AkzoNobel Art Foundation
Wegsterven van een glimlach, 1994, Stedelijk Museum
15 september 2017
Time, Space & Architectur
15 april, 2 september 2017
Perpetuum 1 and 2
Reuten Galerie Amsterdam
Acquired by Akzo Nobel
September 30 - November, 2016
Marineterrein Amsterdam, building 025 (Officiersverblijf)
Reuten Galerie Amsterdam
25 may- juli 2016
Guest lecturer Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech
September 3 - November 15, 2015
June 12 – August 14, 2015
Piet Heinkade 83, Amsterdam
with; Alexa Meyerman, Frank Havermans, Frank van der Salm, Lard Buurman, Peter Zegveld, Marjan Teeuwen, Daniel Mullen ao
Included in broadcast Avro's Kunstuur september 28, 2014
Added to Artis Art Collection
Summer in the city
july 4-14 2014
Including Alexa Meyerman, Ben van Berkel, Charlie Koolhaas, Coen de Jong, Frank Havermans, Frank van der Salm, Giny Vos, Lard Buurman, Marc Ruygrok, Marjan Teeuwen, MVRDV, Nicky Zwaan, NL Architects
Solo 'Alive and Present'
Connersmith april 12-may 31, 2014
Permanent exhibition Re-Animism
Cover catalogue Voodoo museum
(E)merge art fair Washington DC
Art Scope Basel
preview Re-Animism and Still Life
15 december 2012-31 januari 2013
Tribal Design Amsterdam
November 22 -25 2012
(E)merge art fair Washington DC
October 4 - 7 2012
Art Platform-Los Angeles
September 28 - 30 2012
Art Scope Basel
June 12-17 2012
Los Angeles Art Show
January 18-22. 2012
Palm Springs Arts Festival
February 17-20 2012
(E)merge art fair Washington DC
September 22-25 2011
Houston Fine Art Fair
September 16-18 2011
NYPH, New York Photo Festival
May 11-15 2011
De Aanschouw, Rotterdam
october 2010- february 2011
Arti et amicitiae
Double You Street 1998
'Het paleis van de Koning' over het werk van Krijn de Koning
Regie 'Het Spookhuis' AVRO's achtbaan 1996
Toonbeeldorgel 'Fading of a smile'
Archive of moods 1993
'Film 'Lokken' 1993
Korte experimentele film waarin menselijke silhouetten een 'geluidsstuk' uitvoeren.
Sabine Mahr 13 juni 2017
Edo Dijksterhuis 21 april 2017
23 februari 2017
Joyce Roodnat 27 oktober 2016
Inspired by Bordewijk December 2016
Collegiatetimes October 2015
Washington Post May 2014
Dutch Culture USA May 2014
Eric Hope 4 april 2014
Viveka Van de Vliet
Nova Fine Art februari
Overview work 1984-now
Under the moon
Motion Pictures 2015- now
Continuous developments in camera techniques and software make it possible for artists to move more easily between photography and cinema. Agniet Snoep is using these developments with her 'durational photography'. From her interest in the area between photography, film and sound she captures stillness in a moving image, or motion pictures. Her video loops pendulate between still life and perpetual movement without any narrative, associative as dreams can be. Her work refers to urban loneliness and paradise lost, as a result of human intervention.
In 2005, I set about to take photographs of stuffed insects. By placing them as human beings in recognizable situations, the insects suddenly seemed alive and spirited. They had undergone a metamorphosis.
After that, I started a series of still-lifes loosely based on the work of a distant 17th century ancestor. I photographed animals preserved in formalin, stuffed animals, as well as shells, fruit, flowers and other dead but organic material. By means of associative combinations I composed a new image that put the lifeless elements in a new relationship towards each other. "You are almost like an animist", somebody told me, which, for the first time, made me aware of a link between my way of looking at things and animism.
For instance, according to animists, animals, plants, stones or other objects can be become spirited. In this way they become "living beings". These objects contain the souls of dead people, ghosts or gods. In this way they can give support in times of distress and they have to be put in a favourable mood by making sacrifices to them.
The objects in which these gods manifest themselves play a crucial role in animism They are a part of complex rituals and taboo-rules are connected to the objects. They can serve as a medium for the communication between humans and priests and the gods. The objects give answers to their questions, which are being interpreted by the priests.
Inspired by these factors I took a series of pictures of African fethish statutes from a private collection in France. The perception of the animist can best be seen in the details of the various elements that, in the past, have been used in the rituals to compose them.
Looking from my own cultural background, I am not able to interpret the fetish in the same way an animist does. What I am doing is creating a new image, intensified by the razor-sharp registration of all details. I transform the image of the fetish into my own by movement and sound to focus attention on the meaning and force that is attributed by many people to these objects.
Le château d'eau Strasbourg
Els Verhey, Spiegelgracht 8, Amsterdam
Still Lifes 2010-2013
Around the year 1635 my ancestor Ambrosius Bosschaert II painted a small still life just 7 by 8 inches. It shows a dead frog lying on a stone plinth, surrounded by four flies. The writer F. Bordewijk described the painting in his collection of eulogies 'The last honor' (1935) after seeing the exhibition 'The Still Life' organized in 1933 by J. Goudstikker in Amsterdam. I recognized, in the perfectly painted flies and the description of F. Bordewijk, my own inspiration for the use of insects in my work. This was the reason to give insects meaning in the tradition of Dutch still lifes.
(own edit and translation of quotes from The last honor, On Bosschaerts dead frog, F. Bordewijk, 1935)
The word still life must be Dutch in origin. It is beautiful in its modesty and love. It purifies life from the silence. It contemplates the small with affectionate eyes.
From a private collection there was a deep and mysterious, a creepy and gruesome small canvas. It was nothing but a dead frog. In its agony it had rolled on its back. The tiny corpse was displayed with a subtle intimacy. But exceptional and oppressive was the presence of four major meat-flies. Primarily what you see is the dead frog, and only then its exterminators. The macabre impression of the present is immediately intensified by the sinister of what is coming. So it doesn't show the excess of the horrible, but leaves room for the imagination of the viewer.
The masterly part of the painting is the position of the insects. They are not turned towards the body, but rather turned away, seemingly accidental. Why so close and yet so incredibly indifferent. The painter has revealed the abyss between the world of insects and those of other living animals.
A dead frog can still affect us with compassion, but an abyss separates us from the world of insects that cannot be bridged here by our reason. There, on the other side, obscure laws prevail, elusive, a logic that appear as madness to us. And that world fills us with fear. They don't avoid us, the insects, they have fear nor courage, they impose themselves with impudent automatism. They are the danger that we must combat, the power we can never overcome, the enemy to whom we ultimately all fall victim. They are the individually always undefined assassins. The most sophisticated man can not match their cruelty, they can assume hideous forms, under our microscopes they grow into nightmares.
But, their body can point to finesses and they can be carriers of deep and gleaming colours surpassed by nothing.
On that small canvas the genius gave us the utmost love and the deepest dismay. Go to Still lifes
In 1997 I lived in New York for a year. On one of my strolls through the city I came across a jewelry stand, a shaky table on a street corner. There I saw rings made of resin with beetles set into the resin, all kinds of types and sizes. I bought a couple. The beetle as a jewel, an object of desire.
Some years later I began to use the beetle for the first time as a main character for scenes or film-stills, a fragment of surreptitious interaction. On two legs, erect and with their large external variety my beetles adopt a human form. The interpretation of human emotions in the beetle (desire, hope, fear) and the context in which the beetle acts, makes perception recognisable and shows a hint of a secret.
Considered from a distance, if set up in a box, insects can look enchanting, with deep and gleaming colours. But zoom in and they frequently have a fearful, sinister look like strange aliens from a horrorfilm. You can turn a stone in a tranquil looking garden and be surprised by the panicky swarm of vermin. In the famous scene from the film 'Blue velvet' of David Lynch the camera dives suddenly into the grass for a couple of seconds and registers the world of darkness under the idyll. My beetles have evolved, crawled out of the grass and make an attempt to take part in the idyll.
The reverse of this transformation takes place in the story 'Die Verwandlung' of Franz Kafka: there a man becomes a beetle. The family members cannot endure this metamorphosis and lock him up in his chamber. From this imprisonment his view on life is reduced to the chamber where he is forced to hide his now monstrous appearance from the outside world (back under the ground) and he becomes dependent on the degree to which his family takes pity on him. Absurd and full of humour, but also sensitive and understandable.
The titles of my photo-work are the scientific names of the beetles and other insects. It is estimated that there are approximately 10 trillion living insects. Almost 95% of all described species on earth are insects. They have been divided in 32 orders or groups. Beetles (Coleoptera) represent the largest order among the insects with 40%. They belong to the 'Holometabola', the insects with a complete metamorphism (egg, larva, pupa, adult). More than 350.000 types of beetles have been described. One of four animals in the world is a beetle.
Artist talk, Obsidian 2016
This work started on a journey in America. I drove through the vast Navajo reservation in Arizona. Suddenly "in the middle of nowhere" there was a large steel construction. The Black Mesa Coal Silo. A huge storage for coal from the mine in the reservation. A long conveyer belt lurched from the road to the top of the silo. The whole structure resembled a large abandoned fairground attraction.
Coal intrigues me because it is a million years compressed old life in a stone. What life is compressed there? And what memories are hidden in that old life? I photographed the abandoned silo. So I had a start for my work.
A little further down the road the Navajos sold old pieces of obsidian. Obsidian is black volcanic glass of rapidly hardened lava. This stone seemed to work better for my work than coal because I could use the glare and reflection to get depth in the image. Coal is pretty dull. As an artist, you simply have to be pragmatic sometimes.
But this stone also offered an additional layer in my work. Obsidian is considered by some as a stone that encourages personal development. It can bring out the truth and deep emotions. A mirror that is helpful in discovering who one really is. Also in less positive terms.
The stone I bought has three sides. I took 150 pictures of each side of the stone and compressed them. No single detail, colour or reflection is missing.
Then I started to work on the memory of the stone. The image that is hidden inside.
I always work associatively but it starts with a basic idea or thought. The abandoned silo scene reminded me of the pictures in the book "Paradise Lost" by John Milton with dark-romantic drawings of Gustave Doré. The Dutch translation was given to me as a gift.
Paradise Lost is about the battle between God and the devil. Specific to the book is the great attention for the devil's point of view. His view on how he wants God and his creation to lose, is important in the book. The devil was defeated by God, but returned in disguise as a snake. With a cunning plan he sneaks into paradise. The scene where Eve is lured by the devil and therefore must leave paradise is beautifully described.
In the last scene of the story when Eve leaves paradise and enters the world she says;
"Elsewhere, everything seems desolate and inhospitable, unknown to us and unknown with us.”
I transferred this feeling of Eve into the memory of the stone with images expressing feelings of loss, solitude and alienation.
I didn’t put any narrative into those images. On purpose I left room for the viewer's own imagination.
But it takes some time for the viewer to get there. First you must pass two stages of viewing my work.
During the first stage of viewing the focus is usually to rationalize it, like who, what, when and how. The second stage is about taking in beauty, form, colours and aesthetics
Only in the third stage our associative or imaginative part of brain kicks in. It is looking for a story to rationalize the feelings evoked by the images.
But there is no story, and yet there is a strong tendency to look for it. It is exactly that moment I'm interested in.
So please give the imaginative part of your brain all the space that is needed. A free spirit is uncontrollable. You make the memory of the stone yourself.
Artist talk, solo exhibition Connersmith Washington DC 2014
As you will have noticed, my still lifes are inspired by 16th and 17th century Dutch still lifes of painters, like Balthasar van der Ast and Ambrosius Bosschaert. Their paintings can also be seen here in the National Gallery of Art. They made hyper realistic compositions of flowers, fruits and insects that are deeply rooted in our cultural history. My Dead Frog is a clear tribute to one of the finest pieces of this tradition, painted on copper by Ambrosius Bosschaert' more than 400 years ago. It is a small picture of a pitiful dead frog surrounded by indifferent flies.
But I will not further dwell on this magnificent source of inspiration. I will elaborate on my intention to put multiple layers in my work, and how there are different ways to look at my work. Layers are essential to me, in any work of art. A good multilayered image raises questions and provides no answers. It leaves room for multiple interpretations. And those interpretations might change over time or in a different context. The key is that layers create an open communication between the artist and the viewer. That's why art can make a difference.
The desired communication approaches an associative part of our consciousness, but it takes time to get there. The first stage of our attention is usually focused on technical things, like whom, when, where and how. The second stage is about taking in beauty, form, colors and esthetics. In the third stage our associative part of brain kicks in. It is looking for a story or a meaning to rationalize the impression or feeling we get from the image. But the story or meaning is not always there, or at least known to the viewer. But than why is that impression or feeling still there? It is exactly that moment I’'m interested in.
As children we didn't need art for that. Our toys did the trick already. Even the moon was enough. Remember when you were looking at the moon? You started to see a face, and through that face even the moon's mood. I want people to look at my work like they were looking at the moon when they were young. Although I hope that many people still look at the moon like the way they did when they were young. I do.
In any event, reaching this third stage of associative interpretation is what I’'m aiming for. If the esthetic imagery is not followed by a feeling in the underbelly of the viewer, I did not reach my goal. And that's why I hope you will feel empathy, anger, tenderness, joy, curiosity, suspicion or lust when you see my work without knowing exactly why. My objects are never plain beautiful, innocent or harmless. Their beauty may hide assertiveness or perversion. A terrifying appearance of an insect can hide doubt or insecurity. I can’t make the story behind each individual matter you see in my work. Your mind is uncontrollable. You are doing that yourself. But yes, I can tell you they are alive and present.
Agniet Snoep Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved