Personal Relations Artist Interview, José Krijnen (PULCHRI)

This week we are excited to publish the interview of José Krijnen, member of Pulchri Studio in The Hague (Netherlands).

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

I am interested in human gesture as an ambigous phenomen. It is individual yet universal, it is bound by time and context, yet timeless. I made a miniature of hands wich are holding a cup with a specific folkloristic pattern ‘boerenbont’. The cup covers the face. I always paint people whose head is either covered or outside the frame, aiming to explore gesture instead of  individuals. In history, miniature portraits where a diplomatic gift. Because I am Dutch I chose to show a typical Dutch pattern with a typical Dutch habbit. In the Netherlands it is a common habit to invite someone for a cup of coffee. You’d ask this if you want to get to know someone better, but also with your family or even for business purposes. You ask: Would you like to drink a cup of coffee with me?

What did you gained from this international collaborative project?

I enjoyed meeting colleagues of other nations. I like to contribute together with other artists to co-create this body of work. I have never painted this small size before. I wanted to make a ‘Jose Krijnen’ miniature ans still taking serious part in the project. It was a challenge to translate the concept to my work. But since then, I have been painting a lot of miniatures. I found that this small size helps me to concentrate, I like it.

What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

Not so much. I think art shoud reach a level beyond political affairs. All people are responsible for political affairs. Of course it helps to create international bonds and artistic exchange. But I would also enjoy this project in a context of different political affairs. I – as an artist – am more interested in the artistic value of art. You will always be influenced by your time and context but does the thing/ piece of art still work/ speak over 300 years? That is  an interesting question about art…

Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

I would invite them for a cup of coffee to share ideas and experiences. Dialogue is only interesting when people are different. Differences are a source of wealth/ richness. I like diversity instead of just my own nationality…and still I will always be determined by it. But there it starts.

What do you think the project brought to your collective?

My collective liked the fresh and all-round concept (art-history, commitment, new media) of the project and the oppertunity for international exchange.

One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

Yes, I enjoyed the people and their artistic views very much. I like collaborating with other artists and making a work together.


José Krijnen, Boerenbont – PULCHRI


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