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 Nightporter and makes short poetry.

About her work, Karin says:

‘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.’

In her work van Pinxteren basically seeks out perspectives of the gaze and its focus set within relational structures. Subsequently, and more specific, she explores these perspectives in settings that allow for multiple angles of vision and parallel focus points as she plays this field’s symbolic order. Here, she explores and identifies both the subject’s and the setting’s relational position along the parameters of language, spatial settings and language carried. In sum, her work relates the fullness of our daily theatre as a hybrid-reading biotope: led insistently to enact itself according to cultivated promises of modernity.

Van Pinxteren longs for openness, for a deeper trust in our environment that should begin with a more profound understanding and a shift in perspective, altering the foci from the system’s point of view while simultaneously including open-ended personal whereabouts. Presently she explores particular notions of disciplining and trust within the poetic parameters of spatial relations.

In this sum she addresses bodily motivations such as longing for contact, for understanding, for saturation – essentially elements of giving oneself to another – that are catalysed by the power of aesthetic representation. It is within this playfield that aesthetics opens up to an ethics of personalised wonder and exchange. The organics of the theatre are set by the symbolic order, carried away by aesthetic encounters that establish fragile, open and truthful statuses. One could consider this a feminine angle within her work as it fragilely renegotiates the masculine means-end rationality.

In 1999, van Pinxteren started her artistic practice creating various performances and installations. In 2001 she made a performance at the Stedelijk Museum Aalst [B] and in 2002 at Museum De Beyerd in Breda [NL]. In 2003 she was invited by Museum van Bommel van Dam Venlo (NL) to participate in a group exhibitions and was subsequently invited for a solo in 2007. At the occasion of] this exhibition her book ‘Kurt’s Zimmer Publikation’ was published.

In a follow-up to an Artist Residence at Pofferd De-Nul in Antwerp (B) in 2000, she received an invitation for several Artist in Residences, including the MeetFactory in Prague [CZ], KIK in Kolderveen [NL] and the Virginie Janssens Foundation in Mas de Charrou [F]. In 2007 she participates in GHB and in 2009 in the Invisible Empire project at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Solo exhibitions will follow in 2011 at Grey Area Gallery in Brighton [UK] and in 2012 at Museum De Pont, Tilburg, where her book Part of Someone’s Diorama will be published. In the same year she develops a performance as a solo contribution for the Supermarket Independent Art Fair in Kulturhuset Stockholm [S]. In 2018, the invitation for a solo in Twelve Twelve gallery will follow, whereby the work lands in various collections.

In recent years, Pinxteren has also focused on writing alongside her visual work and starts in 2013 with her Nachtportier (Night Porter) blog – ideas of a visual artist. She publishes the book ‘Sofa Journal’ in 2015 with a collection of drawer and written diary notes, in 2016 the publication ‘Traagschuim’ will follow.

Short poetry and reflective reflections increasingly end up in the visual work. For example, the story ‘The lower leg of Ambroise Sardou’ has become part of her installation La Chambre de Cathérine [2016], it previously happened in Silo Exotica [2012], and for the Paltz Biennale in Soest [2021] and will again coincide a story with an installation. In her performances as Hostess she uses language in her poetic actions, such as in the Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art in Chongqing [CN, 2017].

From 2017 she has summarized her work under Short Poetry Art, the characterization that she has devised for this.

The work is in various collections and can be purchased from the studio and a selection of her work is available on We Like Art.

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

'Part of Someone's Diorama' | Karin van Pinxteren | 2012 | Museumshop De Pont

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.’

Easy to love | Karin van Pinxteren | Supermarket Stockholm
Easy to love | video + performance | Supermarket Stockholm | 2012