Inez de Brauw

Rise of Daisies, 2019

oil and acrylic paint on wood, paper, threads

200 × 200 cm

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Looking at Inez de Brauw’s paintings is similar to looking into a broken mirror or kaleidoscope: elements of furniture and decoration jump close and far from vision, some architectural elements intersect or overlap, while others match perfectly. The different panels of the polyptych, after the first original placement, can be rearranged in any order, creating increasingly abstract images, until a new sequence will yield a definite, but new interiorscape. To create her works, de Brauw takes inspiration and appropriates elements from the staged interiors of lifestyle magazines and advertisements. She sees them as a repository of the transient phases of taste and, therefore, culture: textile patterns and furniture designs move freely across borders of geography and history, migrating from one context to the next, to be reinterpreted, re-elaborated and finally being output in a different guise. Mass-produced designs become languages in their own right, personalities that can signify different ways of being.

The fluidity of these ideas makes us question notions of “cultural symbol” and “identity”: perhaps, what we sometimes think of as the roots of our culture, are not so deeply set after all. The fluid and fragile nature of these concepts is mirrored also in the techniques used by Inez de Brauw to create these paintings: ebru painting (water marbling), plaster, threads, and paper collage. Artworks always feature within de Brauw’s paintings, and the mise en abyme effect heightens the sense of mirroring, becoming a metaphor for a feeling of being without lineage, without roots, adrift between historical specificity, kitsch and irony.

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

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