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JESSIE VOERMANS

Click on the different players and on the Ludo board to reveal the work. 

the ideas behind my work 

What you see here is a Ludo board game. It is a game that is played all over the world. I used the image to connect the different pieces of my work. Ludo means I play in Latin and for me these two words perfectly represent what I have been doing over the last three years and especially in the last year.


Play can take place in very different forms: it can be focussed and prolonged, it can be quick and momentary, it can happen together or alone, it can happen in silence or with sounds. The level of engagement that is required, can also vary. 


PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE GOBSTOPPERS: For the first piece, I feel only a little engagement and a short moment of attention is required. Let me first explain what you see: it is drawing I made that I turned into a gif image. What I tried to do here is creating a context that is only partially revealed: it is not clear what happens behind or in front of the door. For me images like this, that only partially reveal what happens, always trigger my imagination and they make me ask questions. This is even more so because of the different audio files. By having a diversity of audio files available, ideas of different possibilities about what is happening, are maybe triggered. And that is exactly my intention: to stimulate this process of imagination.


Whatever someone sees in a picture, always says something about the person seeing it. The interpretation can be coloured by experiences in the past or ambitions for the future, or by the type of person you are or simply by the way you experienced your day. As a child and youth psychologist I am interested in the way our psyche has an impact on what we create and how we see the world around us.


PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE DRIED PETALS:  For the dried petals I used a similar approach. Also for this piece it is not clear what you are looking at and the different audio files that are presented make the number of possible interpretations even larger. My original idea of using the dried petals was very different from the final piece that is part of this digital exhibition. At the start of the academic year, we were expecting to have a physical exhibition in the UK. When we heard that this was canceled, because of covid-19, I felt that my original ideas were not suitable for a digital exhibition and I decided not to use the objects that were already partially finished. For me it was important that the soul of the idea would remain intact and that meant that materials had to be adjusted to the digital context. This illustrates that my work is not about what the individual pieces look like, but about the intention that I have in mind.


PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT CHARLIE: The third project is a children’s book I made and that contains illustrations based on the Rijksmuseum collection. The Rijksmuseum is the most important museum in the Netherlands and it has a collection of more than 600.000 pieces. The whole collection is available online and the best part of it, is that 75% of the collection can be downloaded without having to deal with copyright. When I discovered the online collection, I spent hours and hours just looking at images. I work a lot of with children with less privileged backgrounds and I immediately felt the need to share the collection with children for whom art is not easily available. By using famous paintings, and objects and integrating them in illustrations, art pieces could become part of their familiar visual context. For me familiarity is an important component for appreciation and acknowledgement. By using the rijksmuseum collection, I hope to open a door to art for children I work with. 


I first started with a short rhyme that I wrote, three to four sentences for each page. When creating the illustrations, I allowed myself to make any changes that were possible. So I cut, erased, scaled, mirrored and added elements for the sake of creating what I had in mind. I also added my own drawings, but it was important for me that my own drawing contributions would be minimal and simple, because they were only there to serve other parts of the illustration.


During the first two years of my MA I lived on Saba, this is a small island in the Caribbean with less than 1800 people living there. Part of the illustration that you see on one particular page in the book is a painting of Saba. I was very surprised when I found the painting in the Rijksmuseum collection and I felt I had to use it in one of my illustrations. For me, especially this eventual illustration shows not only an illustration of the text, but also the result of processing my experiences on Saba. I do not know if you ever have ever lived abroad, but for me it always feels as if I never completely understand what is going on. It is intriguing, and puzzling at the same time. Exactly that feeling is what I see when looking at the image.


PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE ROYAL PLAYGROUND: The next project is in a way quite similar to Charlie’s Journey, but for this project I changed the roles. I developed a tool to let the website visitors create their own digital canvas by using an archive of toys that I present. They can add a background, toy objects and text to their digital canvas. For me creating a canvas is not about the end result; it is about the making process. I hope it can help to find answers to questions, to process experiences or simply: to have fun. 


PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE QUEEN OF FREEDOM: I like to make connections with other organisations and initiatives around me. I've tried to accomplish this with the royal playground and the last project: the queen of freedom. The queen of freedom is developed as part of the anniversary of 75 years of freedom that we celebrate this year in the Netherlands. There is a wide variety of initiatives to celebrate this anniversary; the queen of freedom is one of them.

I set up a competition around the theme freedom. By creating a canvas on the royal playground website, you can also participate. Again, this was not part of the original plan. The idea was that the queen of freedom would have sessions in the city centre to discuss the theme of freedom with bystanders. Because of covid-19 this is not possible and that is why I introduced the competition.


With these last examples I also want to point out that I am interested in projects and activities that maybe will not be organised by formal art institutions, like museums and galleries. I like to reach out to people that do not visit such organisations regularly.


What I showed you is all part of my own work. And as you maybe noticed, I use a wide variety of materials and techniques. This is part of my approach. Whenever I start with a new project I start with my imagination. Everything is possible! This results in the use of a wide variety of working methods and materials.