This is visual artist Irmlinda de Vries at gallery ‘ Beeldend Gesproken’ in Amsterdam. We the dKvhT people visited last wednesday to do a gallery talk. Which was super interesting!
First of all we got to look at Irmlinda’s work without having any information about it at all – ‘just describe what it is you see’ was our task. Well, we saw black lines and black dots, lines both thick and thin, in and out of focus – there is a surprising amount of information in the work that can be described in just these terms.
Then we got to do guesswork about the content – we settled for its being a star chart superimposed on designs for chinese-style clothes. This turned out to be correct.
Then we got to do storytelling on why these two systems were combined. My guess: clothes for the chinese emperor, the ‘son of heaven’. Then we listened to music composed especially for this work. Then we got to guess again.
And finally, finally, Irmlinda told us about her inspiration for the work – it is titled ‘Alchemist’s Worksheet no 01’ and it is part of an experiment Irmlinda is engaged in. She’s trying to get closer to her ancestors, who were chinese. She will sew the clothes from the worksheet, embroidering each item with that part of the star chart that is superimposed on it. Then whe will wear the clothes ‘next to the skin’. A chinese kimono can be worn both inside the house and outside – in fact, ‘ it can feel like a house that one lives in’. To be able to wear a house – fascinating!