Bio English

foto by Niek Tijsse Klasen
photo by Niek Tijsse Klasen

Karin van Pinxteren (‘s-Hertogenbosch 1967) studied at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Breda. She makes installations, performances, video, two-dimensional work, writes contemplative texts as Night Porter and makes short poetry.

‘You see the other, and you are you, and yet you can only see yourself fully in the mirror. Hence the conclusion that our own existence is fairly invisible while the existence of others is in full view. This creates the desire to communicate and reflect, which are ways to make our own existence more concrete. Attempts to coincide are followed by attempts to coincide. As this is impossible – we are never on the same page, either with the other or with the self – these attempts turn out to be infinite movements.’

Karin van Pinxteren was trained as a graphic designer and architectural designer. She struggles with the ethics involved in shaping other people’s questions and after her studies she starts developing free work based on reflection on her own questions.

Exhibitions follow in artist initiatives in the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Sweden and the United States. As artist in residence she worked in Vught (NL), Kolderveen (NL), Antwerp (B), Mas de Charrou (F), Chelva (S) and Prague (CZ). Museal van Pinxteren can be seen with a solo exhibition at Museum De Pont (NL) and in group exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum (NL), Museum van Bommel van Dam (NL), Stedelijk Museum Aalst (B), Museum De Beyerd and the Museum for Contemporary Art Chongqing (CN).

In addition to her visual work, van Pinxteren also focuses on writing and poetry and starts with short reflections as Nachtportier (Night Porter) on her website. She published the bundle Sofa Journal with short poetry and aphorisms, followed by the edition Traagschuim (Memory foam).

Short poetry and brief contemplations are increasingly becoming part of the visual work. She summarizes it under Short Poetry A. The meaning of A is plural: Art(ist), Antenna, Act, Atom(izer)…

In conjunction with her artistic practice, Karin is deeply involved with the artistic scene, engaging in talks, lectures and education.

The work is part of various private art collections and corporate collections, including Akzo Nobel Art Collection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Museum van Bommel van Dam and is for sale from the studio and at We Like Art.

Reflections from the art world:

Hendrik Driessen, director Museum De Pont, 2012:

‘How fascinating our capacity to communicate is—to convey what we literally need but, above all, what relates to ourselves, to our emotions and ideas. Though primarily oriented to images, I cannot possibly imagine a world without words. Our perception is, after all, determined to a large degree by the fact that we can also name what we see. The work of Karin van Pinxteren has everything to do with this uniquely human ability; but where a question mark might be placed in spoken or written text, she comes up with a visual variant that actually no longer implies a question but rather a proposal. Van Pinxteren allows us to see and to feel how language can bring us closer together or, on the contrary, create more distance between us; how we can describe the here and now; how to envisage the romanticized past or the dream of a future.

She does so with visual language which is plain but always distinct in form; its dynamics make it highly recognizable and very much her own. Sometimes it whispers to us as a minimal object; then it might be so immense and present that it seems intent on dominating the space it shares with us. Yet it never does lord over us; the work always remains inviting. Not least of all because the word, in the form of intriguing titles, continually underscores that wish for contact.’

Maria Schnyder, conservator Museum de Pont, uit ‘The Fragment’ 2018:

There is no clear-cut meaning waiting for us, so an encounter with your work is never without engagement. In the past you sometimes reminded visitors to your exhibitions of their commitment by stamping their hand at the entrance. Your work presupposes the art of give and take, which makes it both demanding and incredibly generous: we, viewers with our own imagination, our own reflection, actually matter. 

A fragment never reaches its completion. Each time, with every meeting, we can fill in the space it offers anew. And that is perhaps the most beautiful quality an artwork can have: that it is never finished, that it will never be completely understood, captured or documented. The work, as fragment, allows – in your own words –  the “intangible and unintelligible desire that pulverises right in front of your eyes once you come close” to exist. 

Freek Lomme, author and director Projectspace Onomatopee, 2014:

‘Her work deals with a society of trust in an era of sensory control and asks us to position ourselves. As we open up to the fragility of being, getting close, she promotes the ethical potential of the aesthetic experience as a humanising force.’

Manon Berendse, author and journalist, 2009:

‘Not often does an artist deal so directly with what can be said and what remains unsaid: with that which distinguishes artists from their audience, which makes the concerns of the creator differ from those of the viewer, and the self differ from the other. Van Pinxteren attempts to intervene without involving herself. She is absent, yet not invisible.’

'Part of Someone's Diorama' | Karin van Pinxteren | 2012 | Museumshop De Pont
Easy to love | Karin van Pinxteren | Supermarket Stockholm
Easy to love | video + performance | Supermarket Stockholm | 2012