Fabric details by Jeroen van den Bogaert
At the graduation fair of KABK last July, there was a trio of giant wall hangings that attracted a lot of attention. Horse rearing, mopeds, mopeds, descents from the cross and bat sightings constitute a ridiculous scene but at the same time also a dangerous one that you can hardly look at. Hanging on the wall by Jeroen van den Bogaert is about the explosive behavior traditionally associated with masculinity. He compiled it from a large collection of photos he had been collecting for two years. A portion of it is included in the book that accompanies the wall hanging, Dumb Pleasure in Evil Quests. In it, he searches for similarities between images taken from obscure blogs, inside and out, and classic paintings.
Jeroen began his collection of photographs two years ago after he was commissioned to “Do Something” with the Atlas of Minemosyn Abbey Warburg. This atlas of pictures is the last unfinished work of Warburg (1866-1929), a German art historian. Warburg also put up pictures of all kinds of artwork from different eras. Perhaps to discover patterns and discover new meanings, though not entirely sure because he died before he could write down his findings. “Warburg, for example, sees similarities in gestures and symbolism. I have continued that in principle.” Another source of Jeroen’s inspiration is Cecilia Azkarat’s historical memes. “I once put a picture of two young kings and the ATL twins side by side. I didn’t come up with this or anything, you see such a picture very often on Instagram.”
Jeroen hopes his work will be more than just a meme. “I want to grow to the point where it’s no longer laughable. It can weaken very quickly. But it’s also good for people to laugh when they see my work. I think humor also provides an accessible entry into a complex subject.” This topic eventually became a stereotypical male behavior.
“The hanging on the wall is about masculine explosion, or a certain ‘boy behaviour’. I took one topic for each rug and really exaggerated it, making it a bit sarcastic.” One of the carpets is about what he calls “heroic,” and contains photos taken online of carts on wheels and paintings of people like Napoleon raising their horses. On the carpet dealing with the “tragedy” of the man, you can see scenes from the Renaissance crucifixion alongside pictures of young men being dragged out of a tavern after drinking heavy wine. “It also has to do with how the environment reacts to such a lifeless man.” A third tissue deals with aggression. There you see riot police clubbing next to the Middle Ages.
When collecting the photos, Jeroen didn’t necessarily think he was looking for men. “At first I mainly wanted to show that there is a certain beauty in these contemporary images, which can in fact be considered nonsense. Because their quality is so low, and because there is apparently a certain marginal behaviour. While images with similar subjects were respected in historical art. For centuries. I think those modern images are just as beautiful.”
This can be clearly seen in an earlier version of his book that he showed me. In it, the carelessly framed pixel images of crowded interiors look very similar to the still lifes of the seventeenth century. Giron says his teachers advised him not to say anything with his work about what Giron calls the social and cultural clash between the upper and lower classes, because these classes now overlap. “As a result of this comment, I once again reviewed my collection and found that many of the images did in fact relate to certain forms of masculinity. On the other hand, this would relate to intuitive appeal, but men and their behavior were also central to most historical art.”
So the social and cultural conflict between groups with different positions in society is no longer the topic, but rather inspires his style of work. “I wanted to make something that everyone could understand. You can see from KABK that this theory is taken very seriously. I did VMBO, then MBO, then HBO, and now I’m a professor. I read quite a few theories before because I didn’t get that in school : A bachelor’s degree in graphic design, for example, was more practical. I often came across descriptions of projects from fellow students that I simply did not understand, because they had such a complex theoretical basis. Of course, terms sometimes help to create a more specific work because certain words are used for a purpose Certain. Some people also like to look at a half-hour work and see what it’s about. But I myself have less. My background undoubtedly has something to do with that.”
Besides doing wall hangings, Geron also interviewed four of his friends who identified themselves as men. They all have a different relationship to their masculinity. “Masculinity is, of course, a cultural construct. So how do you look at it has to do with your family background, with education, but also with sex. For example, one of the people I spoke to is gay and looks at the concept of masculinity with a little more distance. While you see with these other men that they are They basically describe themselves.” Conversations include topics such as “toxic” masculinity, and wearing clothes traditionally seen as feminine. Jeroen deliberately chose to talk to good friends. “I thought this was important because conversations should be honest, even when people say things that can’t or aren’t true. Discussions about gender are very risky right now and I think a lot of people are afraid of saying the wrong thing. The differences between men and women blur a lot and that’s Good thing. But there are a lot of people who don’t really know how to relate to this.”
Just as Abe Warburg has made new connections and relationships possible with his atlas of images that are hard to capture in language or facts, Jeroen hopes his rug will spark new conversations. Even with people who are not familiar with sex theory. “Hopefully business doesn’t go wrong with people, I’ve been a bit afraid of that for a while. The behavior I show on those furnishings is very exciting and risky. People demand their freedom and that has a certain appeal. And the question that comes with this is: Isn’t it at the expense of others? ?”
The carpets can be seen from October 24-30 during the OYO group exhibition at Haagse Kunstkring.