Chrystl Rijkeboer – Spirit Masks

Chrystl Rijkeboer gets to the soul of her characters that have been produced largely from human hair.

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (7)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (1)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (2)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (3)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (4)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (5)

Chrystl Rijkeboer - Spirit Mask (6)

A statement from the artist’s website:

Memories and human identity form central themes in Chrystl Rijkeboer’s work.

Since 1998 Chrystl Rijkeboer has been using human hair as a working material. Out of curiosity and by experimenting with unorthodox materials she came across this medium. Responses from viewers made her aware of the impact of hair and the emotional charge it contributes to her work. From this the two major themes of work ‘Memory and Identity’ arose.

‘Hair’ contains memories. Everyone knows the lock of hair kept in a medallion or a braid that is kept in an envelope for years lying in a drawer, memories of our childhood or a lost love. They keep the past tangible. Everything perishes except for our hair. By a lock of hair you can literally touch the past.

Our hairstyles emphasize our identity. They can say a lot about ‘who’ we are, and show our age and health. Prescribed hairstyles or covering of hair can be a religious statement. With our hair we show to which ‘group’ we belong or want to belong.

Rijkeboer works mostly thematically and uses recurring elements including human- and girl figures, birdhouses, ladders, masks, birds and wolves. These are recognizable images which illustrate stories about family ties, the living environment and personal experiences.The work is figurative, but form and proportions are subordinated. What matters are the sensations evoked. You can always view the work in two ways: kind, pleasant and innocent. But also the opposite: frightening, condemning and guilty. This ambiguity repeats itself in all her artworks.

Chrystl Rijkeboer uses many craft-based techniques with hair. First she started to felt it, and later she spun it into threads, from which she crochets or knits her sculptures. She also combines ceramics with hair. Besides the 3 dimensional objects she often translates her sculptures and installations into photographs and video works.

Chrystl Rijkeboer is a visual artist who lives and works in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Her art includes sculpture, photography and video projects. In 1998 she graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Since then her work has been shown in Europe, the United States and Canada in more than 70 group shows and 20 solo exhibitions. Work has been featured in several magazines including: +ING (Japan), Sleek Magazine (Germany), Trendsetter (Turkey) and Textiel Plus (The Netherlands).

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