In a joint project with PETRA VLASMAN

Galerie Fons Welters presents its first solo exhibition of work by Alexandra Rouppe van der Voort from May 20th until June 17th. On view are both passed and recent works by the artist. All are photographs. One work called "Durf eens geliefd/verliefd te zijn" (1999) ("Dare to be loved/Dare to fall in love") is a continuously altering projection of two slides that confront the viewer with his/her approach to (being) love(d). Do you dare to be loved or love unconditionally? Do you dare to act upon it or be alone with it? Do you dare to enjoy it?

These questions are put to the unassuming viewer and set the stage for the other works: throughout the show the viewer is confronted with a bizarrely 'natural', and physical human expression. But a 'natural' turned foreign or one often forgotten. A sizeable proportion of the exhibit is devoted to the joint project, STEK, Van der Voort realized together with Petra Vlasman. STEK I (1999) consists of 15 photographic images; STEK II (2000) of 27, both are in book form as well as comprise selected large format cibachrome prints.

Petra Vlasman and Alexandra Rouppe van der Voort began working together on STEK in 1998. Driven by a desire to "see what it would be like to become a plant", STEK I was borne of their mutual curiosity for nature and its rejuvenating powers. At the same time it allowed them to give form to the seduction they both shared when confronted with the innocent and ongoing grandeur of the 'recurring plant' - the ever-replantable seedling, "stek".

Sweetly naïve?

Not unaware of 'green' clichés, Vlasman and Van der Voort take STEK I beyond tree hugging optimism into the realm of the uncanny. And it is there that STEK resigns its 'sweetly naïve' roots to become a bizarre baby in an unpredictable new earthy world.

STEK I led the artists to STEK II, premièring now in Galerie Fons Welters. In 9 large C-prints Vlasman and Van der Voort portray macabre figures (uprooted plants?) in scenes where action has taken the place of plant-like immobility. The viewer is free to form his/her own storyline but a narrative is only implicit. Each image stands on its own, a strange fragment in a curious theatrical whole whereby the artists lose themselves in the other (one another) and in their own fabricated world. In the artists' own words: "the realization that transforming onself into a plant has actually meant more closely defining the person one already is...because in theater you can let your unadulterated, childlike needs surface."

[Maxine Kopsa]