Fellowship

Fellow 2017/2018

Matthijs de Bruijne

Matthijs de Bruijne’s practice is a result of being in political collaboration with trade unions and labor organizations. Working in Argentina in December 2001 in the middle of social conflict and a bankrupt state, de Bruijne learned that the artist can be more than a reflective outsider and can work within political struggles. He was invited to work as an artist for the Dutch Union of Cleaners and Domestic Workers in 2010, creating their visual identity. An exhibition surveying the breadth of his artistic practice and political collaborations is Matthijs de Bruijne: Compromiso Político at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2018. De Bruijne lives and works in Amsterdam.

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Matthijs de Bruijne collaborates with trade unions and labor organizations, questioning the role of the artist as well as visual art’s relevance for social struggles. In 1973, Argentine artist Léon Ferrari lectured in Havana about the politically charged Tucumán Arde (Tucumán is Burning) exhibition that took place in Buenos Aires and Rosario in 1968 and reflected on his own participation in it. With artist and co-researcher Cecilia Vallejos, de Bruijne reflects on his collaborations with political groups, in particular the Cleaners Union of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), using Ferrari’s investigation of Tucumán Arde’s mass reception as a lens. Departure points for seminars, workshops, interviews, and a publication that will happen during the research trajectory include: What are the relations between the positions of artist, audience, and visual language in a political movement? How to avoid appropriation while working with social movements? Is it possible to call an artwork “political” within art institutions when using a language that is unreadable outside these institutions?

Take a Risk and Explore: The Visualisation of the Dutch Cleaners’ Movement

Excerpt from the article: On a summer’s day in 2011 a large group of workers gathered at the entrance of the headquarters of the Federation of the Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) in Amsterdam. The workers, all FNV members, were there to show their dissatisfaction with the negotiations for a new general pension agreement. It had […]

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