From the series Being Part European
42 x 58,4 cm
Edition of 40
ABOUT THE WORK
When the library of the KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) in Amsterdam closed in 2013, Mirelle van Tulder could pick up many books and magazines that were about to be thrown away. They became source material for her graphical work. In one of the magazines, she found a poem titled ‘Being Part European’ by Fijian poet Sam Simpson, which resonated with her own feeling of multiple and partial belongings. The poem felt like a manifest for her, whose life started in Fiji, after being born in New Zealand. Her mother is from Brazil, her father is Dutch and her sister was born in the Bahamas. Tulder has lived most of her life in the Netherlands and feels a connection with the poem and with the diasporic objects pictured in the KIT’s library books and magazines.
"The pictures of objects stolen and displaced during colonial times bear multi-layered belongings. They are the ghosts of hundreds of thousands of artefacts held on the European ground: above ground, behind glasses and vitrines, and mostly underground, stored in basements, archived in boxes. They live behind closed walls, exhibited in collections, decorating private spaces.
Displaced from their original context, these objects were transformed and lost their original sense and belonging to specific categories. New ones were imposed on them, new words. At times they are presented as ‘ethnographic objects’, at times ‘primitive artworks’, ‘cultural goods’, ‘exotic wonders’… It is now hard to find words to qualify ‘them’ without minimising what they are and what they were, without reproducing categories and gaze imposed on them.
Tulder’s panels highlight the different backgrounds and framings. From pictures shot in their original contexts, to objects floating in a vacuum of geometric levels of grey walls, shot repeatedly under several angles, measured. In these compositions, Tulder uses each sentence of the poem ‘Being Part European’ to re-shuffle the catalogue, creating a new gathering. A work in progress. What stories do these objects whisper to each other, across the gutters of the compositions, and through the walls of the shelves?"
Text by Loraine Furter, Foam Magazine #62: M/OTHERLANDS, September 2022.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Mirelle van Tulder is an artist, designer, and research associate at the Research Center for Material Culture (National Museum of World Cultures, Amsterdam). She has the ability to dig deep into archives, intuitively grasping the political and social dimension of these historical artifacts. She immediately translates this archival knowledge into a bold and urgent graphic language – publishing zines and newspapers, playfully pushing the archives into the streets (and vice versa).
With cultural heritage at the center of her projects, she creates poetic interventions that confront the violent histories of European museums, its multiplicity in postcolonial identity, and the ongoing discourse about displacement, and belonging.
ABOUT BUYING THIS WORK
This riso print will be carefully wrapped and send as an insured package. You will receive an e-mail with a Track & Trace code when the package is on its way. A framed copy is regularly on display at Foam Editions, the gallery on the third floor of Foam Fotografiemuseum.
For more information or questions about buying this print, please contact the Foam Editions team.
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