Interview: Cis Bakker
Luca Curci talks with Cis Bakker during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
Cis Bakker is a female painter from the Netherlands, living in the city of Utrecht and working in Nijmegen. In Utrecht, she finished her study of Monumental Art, specifically painting, at the Utrecht art Academy. Ten years later she studied for four years at the University of Humanistic Studies, also located in Utrecht and in that period she also started focusing on digital collage. Cis is married and together with her husband they raised 4 children. She mainly used her teaching degree for workshops she held at her studio. There she worked with students, children and random groups. She also gave workshops for large groups in city parks, worked as a volunteer with emotionally disturbed youngsters, joined in community art projects, co-organized studio tours and exhibitions in Utrecht and organized a group exhibition in a forest. Among her projects were also spatial collages and land art, experiments with animation, several printing techniques, and poetry in combination with her paintings, drawings and digital collages. Up to now, Cis produced nine small artist books and e-books. Painting and collage run like threads through all her activities, always combined with other roles, jobs and family life. Her work can be found in small private collections and in the art lease collection of the city of Utrecht. Lately, some of her work is starting to appear in print and online magazines. Her newest project is Felix Solo, a small gallery she started in the city of Nijmegen. Felix Solo will show her own art as well as art by others, curated around themes.
Cis’ main inspiration in her art, her view on profession and life, is the expression of meaning, through experiment, stumbling upon and meaningful coincidence, combined with an intense love for light, colors and the trivial. Art to Cis is a necessity; spiritual food to nourish humanity, to reflect and strive for growth. Recycling is a very important pillar of her work; “Every unchancy work can be the breeding ground for a better.” Other pillars are eclecticism, contrast – opposites, continuous reinvention, transformation, chronological development, and a tendency to illustrate the existential. “I am the illustrator of my own life, and the universally sensible, recognizable. I paint and draw. Dealing with dilemmas I solved through interpretations, angles of view that present themselves simultaneously in color, shape, diffuse, let exist besides and mixed together. A layered space, with facets that according to the point of view (mood, day, actuality) put a different emphasis on a possible explanation or meaning. This is the best possible freedom for me, to lose it, in this way, a multi-interpretable reality”. With my work, I try to touch, to move people. Internal communication can get going, having to do with teaching or passing around resilience, reinventing everyone’s Self and being open to a deeper connectedness with others. Love, Hope.
Luca Curci – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
Cis Bakker – I think this is a combination of both. When I am open, relaxed and curious, certain accents lighten up an atmosphere of concentration, while stumbling over beautiful light striking a face, a wall, or a detail. Inspiration is a door you open, to possibilities, but also using this door when it opens to you.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
CB – I focus on the composition, the atmosphere and light on an object or a face. It has to be true: I think I look at photography with a painter’s gaze, when you portray someone, you want to grasp that certain something of that particular person at that moment in life, expressing a question and sometimes an answer.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
CB – The most challenging part is to find the right accent or counterpart to lift the totality of the image to another level of intensity. Sometimes it takes a long time searching in my digital archives, making versions as try-outs, until I find just the right element. When I succeed it expresses this question, or existentialist vibe, mentioned earlier.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
CB – Identity and freedom are very important to me. I think my preferred subject is portraiture, be it literally or figuratively. A portrait of a living being, or of a situation. I make a series of digital collages around a theme like ‘Imaginary poets”, ‘Portraits as an old horse’, or like in this case,’ Druppelportretten’ (Waterdrop portraits).
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
CB – About the specific digital collages I entered here, they are from a series I started in 2020 during the first lockdown: Druppelportretten, ‘Waterdrop portraits”. As I, like everybody else, was at work at home and also happened to be preparing seeds to germinate for our vegetable garden, it suddenly struck me; I wanted to make portraits that illustrate the confinement but also at the same time the growing power behind glass. Warmth, humidity and attention are the key factors to possible growth. Be it in the plant world or as individuals longing for development. How beautiful is the light, the waterdrops are diverse in expression and in specific characteristics? They refer to the liquid, the moisture, the life-bringing element and surrendering to the immanent unstoppable change process.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
CB – Perhaps my idea concerning liquid and liquidity and the word itself triggered my awareness of your platform. Your name struck me. And I like the way you formulate your themes. That’s when I found I could possibly fit in. The aspect of international cooperation with very attractive venues, to show art to an international public is very appealing.