When entering Joris van Oosterwijk’s studio, one is immediately struck by the fact that there are a number of old portable gramophones on display, with various record sleeves sitting on a shelf against the back wall. On the floor there are large pieces of paint-covered canvas featuring numerous man-sized stamps of various people that are fascinating because of their direct, physical expression that is looking oddly graphic at the same time.
Van Oosterwijk creates the majority of these life-sized portrait stamps by inviting people to come and lie down on the paint-covered canvas, enabling him to make a stamp of them in the wet paint. Both to the artist and to the person portrayed this action has a ritual quality, comparable to a baptism or a similar immersion.
In the past couple of years van Oosterwijk has developed a personal technique featuring a photographic refinement that makes his work stand in its very own place, transcending all kinds of art-historical references, like the ‘Antropometries’ by Yves Klein or the large Polaroid portraits by Ulay & Abramovic, and numerous other artists who have worked with direct physical images of people, with Veronica’s veil bearing the likeness of the face of Jesus Christ or the Turin shroud as archetypes. These relics have a character that takes on a similar form in Joris van Oosterwijk’s work. In his fixed, almost fossile images we do not only see the first relief prints made by our prehistoric ancestors in wet sand or clay, but also the bodyscan used in medical science, the X-ray, the shadow we cast, the appearance of figures in back-lighting, hallucinatory phantoms, auras, and so on.
Each canvas is a reflection of the relationship he enters into with the person he manages to persuade to get stamped. It is a performative act, a movement being brought to a standstill as an image of the artist’s hidden self, and of the things this image brings to life. In this, the stamps he makes of himself are barely any different from the canvases featuring total strangers. This total strangeness is dissolved immediately: essentially, each stamp features Joris van Oosterwijk.
excerpt from an article by Alex de Vries for Mister Motley art magazine
video registration by Hester Postma: https://vimeo.com/137254938