Renee Spierdijk

Imposed Transitions

5 APRIL – 29 JUNE 2018
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 5 APRIL 2018, 6.00 – 8.00pm

Renee Spierdijk’s work responds to images of young girls and women, mainly from found photographs. She chooses portraits that are taken in formal settings, with the individual often surrounded by political or religious artefacts. Spierdijk is interested in the conditioning and domestication which the children seem to be subjected to and in which they can appear patient, content or quietly mutinous as they wait and hope to become themselves.

Spierdijk’s earlier work, dealing with issues of conditioning and isolation within a variety of intimate home settings from different continents, has developed into a body of work about wider questions of identity and displacement. The current series is largely set in 19th century America during the civil war and its immediate aftermath; a time of upheaval when many were forced to search for a new identity or had a new identity imposed on them. At that moment in world history, immigrants from Europe and beyond arrived on a new continent via Ellis Island. They wore their traditional costumes but longed for acceptance in a new homeland full of hope. This is an experience which is timeless, and in an era of continued forced migration, as contemporary as ever.

Renee Spierdijk is a Dutch artist, born in Amsterdam, who came to England in 1977. She studied Fine Art at the Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmith’s College and now lives and works in Cambridge, where she divides her time between being joint Head of Art at Kings College Choir School and her studio practice.