Artist Toos Nijssen has been commissioned by Museum van Bommel van Dam to design a video installation for the museum. The artist invited twelve people to sit in front of the camera for ten minutes, in silence. Some of the subjects she knows, some she does not, but all have been filmed and combined with video footage from locations and drawings that somehow connect with their expressions.
As time passes by…
Toos Nijssen (Baarlo, 1961) invites her subjects to sit in front of the camera whilst she leaves the studio, leaving them alone with their thoughts. The camera is set up to film the subject’s face and nothing else. As time passes, the subject’s expression begins to change. Slowly but surely, something seems to disappear as if a mask is being taken off; revealing a whole other face. A face behind the mask is a face that lacks inhibitions or fear.
This is -not- a love song
The exhibition has been created out of layers of video footage with the twelve new video portraits playing the central role. Nijssen carefully selects five continuous minutes from each of the portraits and combines them with footage from locations she feels are associated with each of the individual portraits. These could be forests, rivers or the sea. She films each of these for five minutes and adds this footage to the sequences. This is followed by a third element: a series of drawings; sketches and texts.
These elements combined give you the impression that you are flicking through the pages of a diary. Each page gives you an insight into the artist’s psyche as well as that of the subject. All of these elements combine to create a particularly exciting, layered imagery made up of the intimacy from the portraits, the poetic nature of the different surroundings and the brutal candour of the drawings.
Captured in print
Toos Nijssen (Baarlo, 1961) has been investigating the phenomenon of video portraits for quite some time. So far, she has accumulated an archive of more than a thousand video portraits of people she knows, strangers and passersby. She uses a mobile studio that has been designed especially to give her just enough space for one chair, a video camera and the perfect lighting. An attractive full-colour publication will be published to accompany the exhibition containing a selection of stills from this expansive video portrait archive. Also included in the book is a selection of drawings made by Nijssen before, during and after producing her video portraits. Written by Rick Vercauten and designed by Ron Eijkman, the book will be launched on Sunday 23rd August 2009 at the Museum van Bommel van Dam.
Workshop: ‘A self portrait’
Toos Nijssen will also be giving a workshop at Museum van Bommel van Dam on the 15th and 16th of August 2009, themed ‘a self portrait’. Contact the museum for more information.