Artist of the Week

Rachel de Joode

July 19, 2011

Rachel de Joode was born in 1979 in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, studied at Art Academie ST’Joost, Breda (NL),  and graduated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam (NL).  She has received a Starters Stipendium from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and won 3rd Prize at the 90 Jahre Bauhaus Award. De Joode has an upcoming exhibition in Mexico City and a solo show at Kunstihoone in Tallinn, Estonia.

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say?  I do stuff with things.

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like?  In my work I apply globally used everyday objects to built installations.  I am interested in instruments which signify current humanity. Things like: everyday household appliances, office-related objects, recreational objects.  Objects like coffee mugs, crossword puzzles, microwaves, tupperware, noodles or french fries.  I mostly collect my things from the street or at cheap one-euro stores like Pfennigland. I also buy stuff on ebay.  Furthermore I buy things at the supermarket or at the art-supply store.  At the moment I am very much into working with clay.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Since recently, I have been inspired by the instant information access we have nowadays. Facts get to be things. I am thinking about using facts/information as an ingredient in my work. I guess apart from social networking (and globalization) the digital era is filling us up with information. Sometimes I feel caved in with information.  Furthermore, I just came back from Mexico and this made me think a lot about death. Also, I bought a talisman from a shaman—this makes me think a lot about individual magical powers.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Next month I have a solo exhibition in Tallinn at Kunstihoone’s Art Hall City Gallery.  The show is titled ‘Light Trapped In Matter.’  I will be showing some existing works and I will be making an installation on the spot using ‘made in China’ relics and ephemeral objects. I will be going for the entire month of August to build up the show but also to explore the country, skinny dip in the baltics and grill, I am very excited.  Also, I have a group show coming up next week in Mexico City titled: ‘RAT PISS VIRUS GIVE IT TO ME.’  It’s curated by Gerardo Contreras (of Preteen Gallery) and it sounds like a pretty good show.  Meanwhile I am working on a new art auction in the fall (I have an auction house in Berlin: De Joode and Kamutzki). And I am working on some articles for Meta magazine (I am co-founder / art-director / editor).

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? I want them to think about how strange it actually is to be alive and to be human.

What are your plans for the next year? I am applying for some residencies in Korea and the US.  Or I might go back to Mexico City for half a year to a year.  Parallel to this I am currently planning on opening an art space / gallery / school (offering all sorts of workshops from pottery to astronomy to theory).

What do you do when you’re not working on art? I do yoga or I buy food and cook it, or I ride around on my bike. I also like dancing and swimming and sunbathing and watching movies online.

What are you really excited about right now? Yesterday I thought a lot about the revolution and this made me very excited. I truly hope there will be a global revolution soon.  I think the digital revolution is still transforming mankind and these old political structures will soon not be applicable anymore. I think a shift will happen very soon. Things are changing and the planet is changing.  I hope we can globally change the world for the better, since, at this moment, we are dominated by a capitalist system that exploits most human beings.

How long have you lived in your city and what brought you there? I left Amsterdam and landed in Berlin by accident—this was back in 2005. I’ve lived here now for almost 6 years (but during these 6 years I was also living in Paris for one entire year and in Texas for some time and actually last week I came back from 3 months of Mexico City).  I didn’t want to be in Amsterdam anymore because I was afraid of sticking there and having my life pass by without seeing the world and experiencing nothing more then the culture I was born into.

If you had one wish what would it be? To have more time.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? Galapagos Islands.  I love turtles and I would love to meet Solitario Jorge (or Lonesome George).  He is the last known individual of the Pinta Island tortoise and has been labeled the rarest creature in the world.  If the images of the Galapagos Islands look like the most beautiful place on earth, it must be.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? My Bathtub or a seashore—beaches or seashores are always nice, no matter the weather.

Favorite music? Leonard Cohen

What were you like in high school? I was an artsy-indie-rocker-alto-girl with complexes and principles and I hated categories.  I didn’t like high school that much, it wasn’t a drama orso, but it was definitely not very exciting.  I read a lot of fin-de-siecle avant gard poetry and was very much into Dada and Surrealism in general.  I loved Kurt Cobain and I biked a lot. I especially liked biking with my walkman on.