Inez de Brauw

Elysian Inn, 2019

oil and acrylic paint on wood, paper, threads

200 × 250 cm


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Artwork
Description

Inez de Brauw’s black and white paintings of interiors are disorienting and all-enveloping experiences. The work’s perspective, although jumbled-up across the multiple panels that make up the polyptychal composition, invites the viewer in and lends the sense of actually standing on the threshold of the represented room. Appropriating the décor and textile patterns from lifestyle magazines, de Brauw looks at the phenomenon of staged interiors used for magazine and advertisement photoshoots: a limbo where the rooms are as real and tangible as they are unlivable and cosmetic.

And yet, they are so ingrained and ubiquitous  in our culture – through furniture catalogues, TV and paper ads, and ladies’ glossies – that we barely stop and question their implications on our attitudes toward consumerism and cultural appropriation. Indeed, as these interiors have no purpose other than selling and establishing contemporary taste, they become a framework that reflects the continuous migration of ideas: from one cultural setting, to a magazine, to an entirely different cultural setting in ‘real life’ that reframes it, makes it shift, and makes it bounce back to the magazine, with alternating periods of hibernation or oblivion. The fluid nature of these concepts is embodied by the fluidity of the artworks themselves which, painted on several panels, can be rearranged ad libitum.

About
the artist

Inez de Brauw (b. 1989, Amsterdam) received her BFA with honours in 2014 from Hogeschool Voor de Kunsten Utrecht and then studied at Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam from 2016-2017. De Brauw has been included in several exhibitions, most prominently in Lost and Found in Paradis hosted by ARTUNER in Paris (October 2019), Cargo in Context by Van hout en de Dingen die voorbij gaan in Amsterdam (August 2019) and Trouble in Paradise of Kunsthal Rotterdam (February 2019.) De Brauw was nominated for multiple awards including Royal Award for Modern Painting in 2018, where she was also exhibited at Exhibition Royal Award for Modern Painting (Amsterdam). In addition, de Brauw received numerous grants; her most recent being the Stipend for Emerging Artists from Mondriaanfonds in 2018. In 2022 she won the NN Art Award Publich Choice at Art Rotterdam. De Brauw currently lives and works in Amsterdam.  

Throughout her work, de Brauw shows a fascination with the domestic space. Using interior design catalogues as inspiration, the artist depicts ordinary objects which confront the viewer, as the presence and abundance of household objects are usually taken for granted due to today’s relentless advertising culture. A questioning of domesticity and the subject of the home come into play as de Brauw focuses mainly on the staged rooms of the lifestyle magazine, only created to sell the depicted furniture. The artist also questions the concept of “cultural symbols” by noticing the constantly shifting ideas and statuses given to different objects. For example, by keeping each scene devoid of human life (even though each aspect shown is man made), the furniture earns a new importance as it adopts centre stage. In contrast, de Brauw carries the observation of the physical nature of the furniture, focusing on materiality; “I used a lot of nature inspired (mass produced) furniture” as “references to nature in (model) houses are growing exponentially”, just as contact with nature itself becomes increasingly scarce due to urbanisation. So, ideas of nature within the man-made home come into play with each other, adding another dimension of contradictions and similarities to be contemplated. Additionally, she discusses the loss of historical specificity of the object as it floats within the work, relating this idea back to the continuous altering of concepts that are assigned to each ‘figure’. 

Inez de Brauw's ideas are furthered by her technique. De Brauw paints mostly on polyptychs and encourages the viewer-owner to reshuffle the panels in order to create a new painting. By doing this, de Brauw reinvents the polyptych, a usually static composition, as an extremely dynamic and interactive artwork. By reordering the panels, the artist (or the owner of the work) is able to create changing and reimagined interpretations of the original spaces. The images flow in and out of figuration and abstraction, as some repeat while others can never be seen fully, creating a kaleidoscope effect in the works. The artist also uses the ancient technique of ebru (water marbling), plaster and collage; the choice to handle such fragile mediums mirrors the artist’s decision to analyse equally fragile topics within her pieces. De Brauw fills her paintings with these contradictions and repetitions to create a dreamlike mise en abyme in which each aspect adds to the painting’s sense of being adrift from historical specificity.  


Throughout her work, de Brauw is fascinated with the domestic space. Using interior design catalogues as inspiration, the artist’s paintings challenge the viewer to fully recognise ordinary objects, the presence and abundance of which are usually taken for granted due to today’s advertising culture. 


Inez de Brauw
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

October 12th, 2019 until
October 30th, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER