Mister Motley: (…) the final, autonomous work “Drift” that Roos van Geffen made. It consists of a series of 25 color photographs of the children, family members and other residents of Almere Haven. She shows the portraits in a very large format just below the water surface in the city canal. The photos together seem to be swept away like a swarm by the stream. Where water is often a dividing line, especially between life and death, it also establishes a connection. (…) Everyone looks at you directly and clearly. It is like with the people themselves, we are part of a community, but each of them is not representative of the collective. We stand on our own, whatever the future holds. link
Mister Motley: (…) For a long time Roos van Geffen has been researching the desires and fears of people whom she invites to discuss this with her. She does that without emphasis, without prescribing anything to people. There are only two questions she asks: what is your deepest desire and what is your greatest fear? She is a non-judgmental, listening and noting partner. She now has a large archive of piles of paper under the title “The collection of fears and desires”. The answers are almost always about personal relationships with the situation in which the world finds itself and how people are part of it. Depending on the urgency of that situation and its concrete influence on people’s living situation, the fears and desires vary from fairly abstract to particularly concrete. (…) In any case, the ten-year-olds proved to be extremely aware of the danger that humanity will deplete and destroy the earth. It expressed itself, among other things, in the fearful picture of the future that ‘the sun will swallow the earth’ or ‘that people become victims of war and enslaved’ and more directly involved in Almere ‘that the water will be as high as the Weerwater is wide’. http://www.mistermotley.nl/art-everyday-life/drijvend-op-de-stroom
ABOUT UNFOCUSSED DAYS
Parool March 28, 2019, Maarten Moll: Unfocussed Days The first association is with the photos of the German photographer Michael Wolf. At Shimo-Kitazawa Station in Tokyo, he took photos of squashed commuters behind steamed glass. Almost anonymous. Just as you could characterize this “blurred” photo with the word anonymous. It is an image of artist Roos van Geffen from the series Unfocssed Days. With this she wants to show the inner world of the portrayed. On her website she writes: “Not the beautiful, happy or balanced image that people often want to convey, but rather the emotions that people show less quickly; despair, doubt and sadness, but also stillness and contemplation. “Van Geffen hung the life-size photos at eye level, so that it is like looking in the mirror. Because out of focus, identification with the person portrayed is impossible and the viewer can “project his own feeling on what he sees”. Van Geffen was inspired by the “faint-grained” canvases of painter Matthijs Maris (1839-1917). link to article
De Volkskrant 8 September 2017, Merel Bem : It becomes even more fun when Van Geffen lets her audience have their own skin color (according to the artist, you can have the ‘most vulnerable’ piece of skin photographed by her and I am not sure what that is) right place in a kind of skin color range. That turns out to be more difficult than initially thought and many people elicit the remark: ” Hmm , I am less black and white than I thought”. Fotodok , invite the entire House of Representatives, or better: build the exhibition on it again .
De Volkskrant 8 September 2017, Merel Bem : The work of Roos van Geffen also touches such a sensitive chord. She introduces two installations to Voorbij Wij en Zij. One is Black School, in which Van Geffen sorted 84 portraits of children from a ‘black school’ in Lelystad according to hair and skin color, from light to dark and vice versa. Reality check: children with raven black hair sometimes appear to have surprisingly light faces. (…) Fotodok , invite the entire House of Representatives, or better: build the exhibition on it again. Entire review in Dutch:
CJP 12 September 2017, Rick van Veluw: (…) For example, it is quite uncomfortable that Roos van Geffen portrayed children at ‘black’ and ‘white’ schools and then sorted them by color. On the other hand, she does question the definition of ‘a black school’ and the cogs in our head turn a little further than normal. Entire review in Dutch:
De Volkskrant V- Vlog September 28, 2017: (…) ‘Black School by Roos van Geffen, who has photographed all children from the front and back and then has arranged her hair color on one side and skin color on the other. You can see here that art can also be a stimulus for thought. Or at least dwell on ‘where do I belong? How do I see other people? And how can I change that? Watch the entire in Dutch.
BBC Radio : ‘A fantastic and subtle performance… (…)’
CCQ Magazine: The sensual pouring of salt preserves the picture I’ll take with me as I leave . Desires and fears are preserved in my brain.
NRC Handelsblad Vangst van Roos van Geffen has beautiful silence (…) First tender, then merciless. The very concentrated action is sometimes compelling.
Leeuwarder Courant: One of those little gems is Vangst van Roos van Geffen … fear of death and the desire for love and intimacy come together beautifully
Geert Overdam, Director Boulevard Festival : Roos van Geffen with Vangst, a small show about fears. Real experience theater, close to your skin. You feel the need to let us experience this deep into your body. And that is exactly what art means to me: breath and blood
ABOUT FIVE FACES/BREATH
NRC: Our non-verbal behavior unites as much as it divides, Van Geffen seems to say. Not a sensational insight, but there is less to do in this physical representation. Experiencing is more important than understanding, and the experience here is intense: how the actors emit sound with the help of their entire body, reaching faster and louder, reaching for the orgasmic rather than ending in a series of animal cries. The neighboring distance from it is great, but at the same time it feels close, recognizable, human.
De Volkskrant****: The new piece Breath van Roos van Geffen is certainly as penetrating, but much more witty. (…) And all of those faces have become so fascinating and personal and individual and distinctive that you can’t imagine that you ever found them boring and ordinary.
Gooi en Eemlander, Margriet van Seumeren : “In the upper room of Corrosia ! the video installation ‘Five faces ‘ can be seen in which five heads nod yes. On another screen there is laughter and no shaking, while on another screen a woman breathes hard and then stops. You hear nothing, you only see the images. When you take the time, the video installation makes a deep impression. “
Moon Saris : The beautiful work, Five Faces (…) took my breath away and at the same time gave air. Beautiful, but also painful. Fine, but also to. Paradoxically, exactly what I love because nothing is ever really clear. It appealed to my heart, but also to my head. Every day should contain a portion of this, then you never allowed yourself to take things and people for granted and taken for granted, and you daily thought about the miracle that is called man and life, feeling and thinking.
De Theatermaker: The performance ‘We’ in top 3 of best mime performances of 2008
Deadline : Ultimate theater (…) This is how theater should be: moving and personal.
8Weekly: You are recognized as a unique individual with a unique face. At those moments, WE van Roos van Geffen suddenly comes very close. The anonymous ‘she’ of passing unknown faces becomes a moving ‘me’.
Parool : “an equally oppressive and intimate one-on-one show”
De Pers : Strong but beautiful
Utrechts Nieuwsblad: **** “ confronting in a simple way”
Moose: “ Very special experience. Perfectly fitting title. Only downside: it ruined me for other shows. Nothing makes it better here ”
Theatertijdschrift Lucifer/ Bas van Peijpe : The series of encounters in We on the one hand encourages all kinds of thoughts about looking, being watched and intimacy. But in addition, the show organizes an experimenting and creating practice in the sense described above. The visitor ‘inhabits’ the constructive and undergoes a step -by- step transformation from a spectator-to-a-distance to a participant in an intimate contact. All this happens so slowly and with concentration, there is room for a degree of input in this experiment, for creating and testing different ‘configurations of yourself-in-this-situation: do I keep looking or do you keep your eyes off? Are you opening up or are you erecting a wall? Are you talking back? And what do you say? And here again the basic reflective at the service of the experiment: what does this do to you, here and now?
De Volkskrant(…) Creating a square where there is no cynicism.
De Standaard(…) Is van Geffen naive? No, only those who see the world in all its ugliness, ask to look for beauty with such insistence. (…)
8Weekly (…) All in all, it is an overwhelming and moving experience.
Simon van den Berg www.simber.nl (…) Immens is a pure and profound experience.
De Morgen(…) The way in which you get to know the city of Bruges in Hartstocht is as original as it is breathtaking. (….)
De Volkskrant (…) It is great that in a time when everything has already been thought of, someone can offer the audience a completely new experience with such a simple intervention.
www.moose.nl An absolutely sensational, esotheric , visual experience. Everything you say about it sounds exaggerated, but it is true. (…) it shows you the essence of what art is about, the insight that the world can be viewed differently than you have ever decided to do yourself. You must constantly review that decision.
VPRO guide October 2015: “… The decor is the centerpiece of this piece and consists of semicircular, oversized carpet rolls on a rotating platform specially designed for this purpose. The image that the makers want to evoke is crystal clear: a plowed field. That looked like this fifty years ago, looks like this now and looks like this in 20 years. There is no better symbol of transience, and it is a simple and ingenious find for a play about two Frisian farming families for fifty years … “
Friesch Dagblad November 2, 2015: “… A strongly imaginative and ingeniously designed backdrop – the plowed fields and the planets above in atmospheric lighting – give you the feeling that you are both important and void …”
Theaterkrant November 1, 2015: “… The stage image consists of nothing more than a large turntable on which a perspective distorted and therefore immensely looking arable land can be seen. Rugged earth in which deep forwards have been drawn. Symbol for the countless characters who are all drawn from the clay and in whom life has left deep grooves. Above that, the planets make their slow revolutions. It is gigantic colored spheres that, due to their size, reduce the earthly hassle to no more than negligible murmurs … ”
ABOUT LOOKING FOR
Blue pages – The Society of British Theater Designers June 2011, Michael Spencer “The Dutch exhibit confronted us with a booth , inside How many followers sat a man who presented participants with an iPhone if They wished to take a hour long tour through the streets of Prague Immediately outside the exhibition building. The tour was created by four leading Dutch scenographers – the iPhone was your guide: map, visual references , audio and means of recording your experience . This last example – a personal favorite – raises issues of where reality meets theater , by asking participants to frame their experience through photographs they are instructed to take. ”
www.newparadiselaboratories.org : I found the Dutch National Pavilion and the walking tour to be a well- integrated and forward- looking experience at the Prague Quadrennial – amongst my favorites there . The tour was well- written and evocative , the ending was fulfilling and memorable .