Toos Nijssen - kimiz / ..and we ..who are we

external project

Toos Nijssen kimiz / ..and we ..who are we

16/09/2005 - 09/10/2005

On the invitation of the Dutch Consulate Gneral in Istanbul, the Van Abbemuseum presents the ongoing video-project kimiz / ..and we ..who are we by the Eindhoven artist Toos Nijssen. This event parallels the 9th Internaional Istanbul Biennial (16 September – 30 October 2005) and EindhovenIstanbul, a historic survey of the Istanbul Biennial at the Van Abbemuseum (1 October 2005 – 29 Januari 2006).

Toos Nijssen (born 1961) explores the universal, yet increasingly difficult question of identity: kimiz / ..and we ..who are we The subjects are unknown to the artist before they are invited to participate, either personally or through hand-outs explaining the project. Over the past 10 years, Toos Nijssen has assembled an archive of video portraits of 450 individuals that range from 5 to 60 minutes long. All of these portraits were taken in a specially designed booth that she set up in different places in India, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. The latest portraits were made at a weekly market held in an area of Eindhoven predominantly populated by Turkish citizens.

At the Palais de Hollande, the Dutch Consulate in Istanbul, two monumental stills printed on canvas flank the grand Consulate entrance. Nearby, on the same busy street, her most recent series of video portraits are on two monitors in a bookshop’s window. Although all of the portraits were taken in Eindhoven, the national identity of Nijssen’s subjects are deliberately unclear, and makes one question what a Dutch person might look like today, and whether one can even ask this question. The only common feature is Nijssen’s technique of portrayal. kimiz is a pleading for difference. It is a new form of portraiture. These video recordings are not idealized, realistic or expressionistic portraits. They do not claim to represent national values. They do not accuse social circumstances, nor, do they investigate psychological patterns. They are straight forward portraits of men and women of all races, yet taken in specific places.

During three weeks, Toos Nijssen will be adding to her archive of portraits in Istanbul. Operating from a booth with recording facilities in the courtyard of the Dutch Consulate, Toos Nijssen will invite people walking in Istanbul’s busy streets to participate in her project. It is the process, more than finishing and completing the project, that drives the artist. The potentially never ending labour of communicating, recording and showing is the contemporary and humanistic answer to the aristocratic and bourgeois portraits of the past.

The archive of Toos Nijssen will grow through the video portraits taken in Istanbul. At a later date, the project will be presented in Eindhoven in special presentation at the Van Abbemuseum.  
Locations video-project Toos Nijssen: 
Palais de Hollande
Istiklal Caddesi 393
34433 Beyoglu
Istanbul , Turkey Robinson Crusoe Kitabevi (Bookshop)
Istiklal Caddesi 389
34433 Beyoglu
Istanbul, Turkey
The video-project kimiz / ..and we ..who are we has been made possible by:
Dutch Consulate General
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mondriaan Foundation
Philips Turkey
Robinson Crusoe Kitabevi (bookshop)