It’s a Bird. No, it’s a Swan.
An attempt to capture Loes.
Eva van Ooijen, ft. Loes. (in progress)
This work is about Loes, an artist who spent her life in obscurity.
In 2022, Eva van Ooijen came into possession of a number of exhibition maquettes. Curator Mindy Lamers made these maquettes in 2017 in preparation for a retrospective exhibition about the forgotten female artist Loes at the Stedelijk Museum Enschede. Despite the museum's interest in hosting an exhibition about Loes, Lamers never managed to execute her plans. She was unable to capture the essence of Loes works, which are elusive due to their variety in styles and mediums. The small scale models in these maquettes are all that remain of Loes' multifaceted oeuvre.
Eva is in the process of recreating Loes artworks that are reduced to stamp-sized photographs. Although a copy seems the highest achievable, inevitably you end up with a translation or interpretation of the original. Photography preserves and at the same time changes the qualities of what it captures. This makes the original physical properties of the works difficult to trace. By making her own interpretations she does not only give Loes a voice, but in the gaps there is room for her own artistry.
The interpretations of Loes' works are a metaphor for what happens when you try to rewrite (art) history and retrospectively place women back into it. You cannot reclaim what is not documented: you can only try to fill in the gaps as best you can within a selective art historical canon.
Loes as a construct represents a large group of women artists who, in a male-dominated art world, have never been heard or seen.