First, No Limits! Art Castle was part of FOTODOK expo “Part of Me”, which opened on 26th of august 2022 in Utrecht.
No Limits! Art Castle showed no less than four collaborations, including a real pop-up merchandise shop, with:
Jan Hoek and Bruin Parry
The Nobody Can Take Away My Dream — Bruin Jackson — Fanshop
2022 – ongoing
The Nobody Can Take Away My Dream — Bruin Jackson — Fanshop by collaborators Bruin Parry and Jan Hoek explores Parry’s desire to become a world-famous superstar, and Hoek’s efforts to help him achieve this goal. The duo’s artistic kinship began many years earlier when they were neighbours, and Hoek would babysit for Parry. In recent years, Parry’s love for Michael Jackson has made him realise that he no longer wants to focus on making visual art. Instead, he wants to give everything up to become a superstar — after all, now that Michael Jackson has passed away, someone has to take his place. As his artistic collaborator and studio mate, Hoek has found it difficult to support Parry’s shifting career ambitions. Aside from not having any connections in the music business, Hoek recognises that becoming a superstar is not a realistic goal, and the two have different opinions on Parry’s singing talent. But Hoek’s rational approach means nothing to Parry. To him, rationalism stands in the way of determination and drive. Who cares if he is not as talented as Michael Jackson — he is talented in his own way! Plus, he loves what he’s doing, doesn’t that count? Parry and Hoek’s work for FOTODOK evolves around this theme, their clash of perspectives, and endless negotiations between the two. Their work has materialised in the form of merchandise — the most tangible relics a superstar can make. Parry adds: “It’s also an opportunity for people to become one of my fans, and perhaps even meet me and take a picture with me.”
Aadéṣọ̀kán and Klaus Compagnie and Yasmine van Haesebroucke and Niels-Jan Tavernier
Notes on making not because I have to but because I need to – 2022
The work of artists Yasmine van Haesebroucke, Niels-Jan Tavernier, Klaus Compagnie, and Aàdesokan are connected by the compulsion to create without compromise. For FOTODOK’s presentation, Aàdesokan held a residency at De Zandberg, an art workplace in Kortrijk, Belgium, where he met van Haesebroucke, Tavernier and Compagnie.
Van Haesebroucke’s work is defined by her love of the Korean Pop scene, which she translates into detailed, hyper-realistic drawings. Tavernier makes meticulously sculpted cardboard spacecrafts modelled after sci-fi icons, ceramic dinosaurs, and hundreds of tiny spacecrafts that he creates from the aluminium foil in which he packs his lunch. He regards making art as the only logical thing to do, but he opposes the mythology of the “artist as genius.” Compagnie’s work is perhaps the most uncompromising of all. In his multi-media drawings and texts, he works with near-obsessive drive, but he is equally determined to ensure that others share the same urgency to understand and reflect on the world as he sees it. Encountering these artists and their work, Aàdesokan explains, has helped him to better understand himself and his perpetual drive to create. Each of the three artists, as well as his younger brother who lives with cerebral palsy in Lagos, Nigeria, have shown him that we are all branches of the same tree. This tree represents the need to create, and the branches represent many the directions in which we are allowed to grow. Even though his brother doesn’t have access to the space to help him grow, the others do, and yet they are only able to grow in a world that exists outside of the mainstream. That’s why it’s important to always remember the tree, says Aàdesokan. “We are not separate. We are and always will be connected by our trunk. Over time, our branches will grow together, meet each other and perhaps, in time, become one and the same.”
Laetitia Bica and Samuel Cariaux
CREAM – 2018
CREAM is the product of a long-standing collaboration between artists Samuel Cariaux and Leatitia Bica. Using photography as a way of generating dialogue, Bica’s work is defined by the active role she assigns to her models, as well as the originality of her compositions. She uses the camera to explore the notion of artistic co-existence and “being-in-common”. Cariaux, who creates versatile multimedia work, is drawn to extravagance, pop culture, the sacred, and the symbolic. He also plays the trumpet with his band Katabunga. To Cariaux, expressing yourself is what matters most. Through making art, he feels able to claim his identity and selfhood. He proudly takes the spotlight and entertains his audience whenever he can. These qualities are what drew Bica to him when they first collaborated to make a music video in 2012. The entire video was inspired by Cariaux’s work, who was going through a “rock phase” himself, and decided to make a series of vests that appear in the video. Bica’s decision to make the video was partly informed by the medium itself, as she believed it would best articulate the meaning and culture of rock music. Also, it would serve as a direct gateway to a mainstream audience — which Cariaux had yet to reach.
Martine Derks and Nina666
666MODELNINA666 – 2017 – ongoing
Approximately five years ago, photographer Martine Derks met Nina666 when she was looking for a model to pose for her work. They had an instant connection, and in the years that followed the pair regularly collaborated, each becoming a big influence in the other’s life. To Nina666, Derks served as an avid supporter and cheerleader who helped her to grow into her trans identity, develop her artistic practice, and improve her self-esteem. Nina666, on the other hand, helped to show Derks that photography is the product of a collaboration between artist and model, where having fun and thinking outside the box take priority. Throughout their collaboration, Derks became aware of the privileges her identity afforded her, while Nina666 had to fight for the right to live in a way that feels authentic to her. Ultimately, while Nina666 feels secure and empowered by her non-conformity, she recognises that growing up in an environment that punishes those for presenting otherwise was difficult. She points out that while society is largely accepting of non-conformity among well-established artists, it is just as quick to denounce the same behavior by less-established individuals. Nina666’s anger about the hypocrisy of this situation has fuelled her artistic practice and propelled it forward. Connecting over their shared journey from gender dysphoria to gender euphoria, the pair is determined to break down those barriers so people will recognise Nina666 for who she is, while enabling others in her position to feel the freedom and strength to flourish as well.
Tekst by Gwen Pol
Pictures by Studio Hans Wilschut