Driven, Manipulative and Vulnerable
Lique Schoot: Driven, Manipulative and Vulnerable
Max Meijer, former Director of the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, co-owner TiMe Amsterdam
Lique photographs herself every day since 2003 with an analogue miniature camera, casually and manually without any further aids. A film roll has 36 images, and Lique uses these film rolls as a kind of diary. Thus, every month she submits between 28 (February) and 31 images to the photo lab where these are developed. The prints are stored on a CD. In this manner she compiles a kind of retrospective diary or calendar of images.
Lique further elaborates and edits these now digitized analogue images by computer, framing them optimally, one for each day. From that calendar of images she selects some that seem sufficiently interesting to her as a basis for her painted self-portraits. Although different in format, each of these is painted with a same technique, in very thin layers of oil paint. Thus, in her studio appears eventually a portrait that is the 'sum' of these original images; the digitally processed analogue image selected, patiently transposed to canvas in very thin layers of oil paint. While the observer first sees a striking almost photographically exact painted portrait, it also reflects a (painted) date of a calendar. A day from a life of images, images created in time.
Lique is a strong woman, an artist with an admirable self-imposed and fascinating discipline, operating in the apparent constraints of her personal calendar, using the CD's with her photographs to guide her artistic acts. She seems like a kind of guardian of a grail of images, unfinished products from which she chooses and selects at will.
Lique is also a strict mistress of manipulation. She manipulates reality, foremost by isolating a piece of that reality, centred on herself with the lens of her camera. Her second manipulative act takes place on the computer screen, where frame, contrast, and light- and darkness, etc. of the original image are subjected to her strict requirements. And as if that were not sufficient, this process is followed by her ultimate image manipulation, when she lets the photographed image as it were 'explode' on the canvas, sometimes very expansive to a large size, she is playing with the paint, using brushes and other tools, until she obtains the, for her, perfect final image. And if there is the good fortune that through a sale such a painted final image disappears for ever out of her life, her manipulative acts are still not exhausted and uses a final conceptual strategy; she replaces it in her 'calendar' with a small canvas with the date referring to the sold self-portrait (even though I believe that those portraits are really dates in a calendar rather than paintings for Lique). Thus, really, Lique manipulates, which is perhaps the most complex and brilliant of all, time itself. She turns from then to now and selects, at will, moments from piles of time. Then becomes now, old becomes new. Personal emotions, classical points of reference in time, are often modified, completely eliminated, just enlarged or are slightly hidden.
Besides all these manipulations, I think that there is yet another, quite feminine virtue visible in her work and that is vulnerability. Because I believe that it requires courage, to display so much of yourself in your work as an artist. She does not hesitate to show herself to you, literally as well as figuratively. Although Lique sees herself perhaps mainly as a conceptual artist, her 'being' is unequivocally the central focus of her work for you as the observer. And Lique in person coincides for many of us largely with what she shows here on the walls.