A number of reflections on Lique Schoot`s work
A number of reflections on Lique Schoot's work
Flos Wildschut, art historian, curator
Ever since she graduated from the Arnheim Academy of Arts (1997), Lique Schoot has painted self-portraits. Her oeuvre, however, is not automatically to be classified in the tradition of the self-portrait.
Narcissism and self-examination do not appear to be her primary needs. Lique does not use mirrors, references to all sorts of virtues or attributes that would give the spectator a clue to fathom her being. Although she keeps painting her head in different postures - from below with a self-portrait in the background, leaning on the arm of a sofa, looking down on us, hidden misty-eyed behind a sprig of roses, we keep wondering: who is this woman?
Her portraits evoke curiosity. At first sight they seem to still our hunger for intimacy. They appear to reflect her daily life. They are like snapshots, pictures taken casually and at random, regardless of focus or composition. Lique actually takes snapshots of herself and uses some of them as a basis for her paintings.
Although the snapshot-like form suggests real life, Lique dishes up a completely different world. Her canvases radiate an unreal atmosphere. The model may be the same, but she keeps changing shapes: a dreamy-eyed adolescent, a self-conscious woman, a femme fatale. Can we still regard them as self-portraits?
Just like photographer Cindy Sherman Lique Schoot uses her own body as a model for a much more general representation. It is paralleled especially in Sherman's early work, in which she uses film stills for her ever-changing disguises, thus making her an actress and director at the same time. The photos, often slightly out of focus, suggest the movement of film.
In her recent work Lique Schoot has also been occupied with movement. How to express movement on one single canvas, in one single image? Movement is also expressed in a less literal way. Although her paintings are basically individual works of art, together they seem to be telling a story. Each painting makes you wonder what will be next. Will there be a sequel anyway? The story remains fragmentary and, therefore, a mystery.
It deals with fragments of a life shrouded in mists. Her paintings evoke an atmosphere of mysticism and melancholy. It is possible to place her work in the tradition of painting, but that does not have anything to do with the technique she obviously prefers. Especially her imagery conjures up associations with the pre-rafaelites from the middle of the 19th century. She may not dish up any moralistic scenes in the way many pre-rafaelites did, but the postures and the type of woman (Lique herself) remind me of the models, the muses, used by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, John Everett Millais and Edward Burne-Jones: delicate, pale faces fringed by long ginger hair, with an intensely melancholy look. A beautiful sadness, in many cases referring to higher, meditative atmospheres, sleep, and even death.
Lique has no intention of returning to the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, as Rosetti and his pals did. She has her feet firmly on the ground in our society. But her paintings form a quiet, almost contemplative island, cut off from the hectic and often evil outside world. An island removed from our time, where time does not exist. And in our nerve-racking society that can be a relief.