ik lig goed – Lotte Koppens

ik lig goed

Raamexpositie: Lotte Koppens
werkperiode: 25 juni – 14 juli
presentatie: 15 juli t/m 30 augustus

installatie, tekenen etc.

Over de kunstenaar:
Lotte Koppens (1998) is mixed-media kunstenares wonend en werkend in Dordrecht. Ze is vorig jaar afgestudeerd aan de Koninklijke Academie van de Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag (KABK) in de richting Fine Arts. Ze maakt installatie-achtige werken die met name vertrekken vanuit haar basis, het tekenen.
‘Het werk is psychologisch gemotiveerd; mijn state of mind bepaald de koers van het beeld. Hierdoor is het werk een eclectische verzameling van verschillende methodes die samen komen in één groot project, wat zijn eigen ruimte inneemt. Het maken van kunst voelt haast als een soort van exorcisme; het helpt mij hetgeen te verwerken wat omgaat in mijn onderbewuste. Kunst maken betekent definiëren, begrijpen, confronteren en overwinnen. Overweldigende herinneringen worden hierdoor toegeëigend en leefbaar. Het werk vertrekt dus vanuit een persoonlijk narratief, maar vindt vaak verbinding met maatschappelijke onderwerpen als intimiteit, feminisme, existentialisme, hedonisme, opgroeien en (seksueel) misbruik.’

Window exhibition: Lotte Koppens
working period: June 25 – July 14
presentation: 15 July to 30 August

installation, drawing etc.

About the artist:
Lotte Koppens (1998) is a mixed-media artist living and working in Dordrecht. She graduated last year from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) in Fine Arts. She makes installation-like works that mainly depart from her basis, drawing.
“The work is psychologically motivated; my state of mind determines the course of the image. This makes the work an eclectic collection of different methods that come together in one large project, which takes up its own space. Making art almost feels like an exorcism; it helps me process what is going on in my subconscious. Making art means defining, understanding, confronting and conquering. Overwhelming memories are thus appropriated and livable. The work therefore departs from a personal narrative, but often finds a connection with social subjects such as intimacy, feminism, existentialism, hedonism, growing up and (sexual) abuse.’


Interview Lotte Koppens by Chiara Vignandel                                         Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Ik lig goed, I lie well, is the title of Lotte Koppens’ project, an intimate and personal journey that takes the shape of an unstable house, a nomadic tent, and becomes public in a display installation visible day and night, from the 15th of July until the 30th of august through the windows of SIGN.
I met her right in the middle of the creation process, surrounded by big pieces of fabric that talk about her, about her feelings, about her life but, in the end, also about mine and everybody else’s.
Because we are all struggling, and we all find peace in seeing our emotions depicted. Charcoal on fabric.
Lotte gently invited me inside of this temporary shelter and shared with me her thoughts, all cheered up by the sweet presence of Moos, her black Labrador puppy.

So Lotte, how is it going?

It’s going well, some days are more productive than others… Today is not a very good day actually: I feel a bit tired. But before that it was ok, I feel like I’m learning a lot. And these feelings fit what I’m going to show: feeling comfortable with your negative thoughts and make negativity your comfort zone. And this usually happens when you’re lonely. So being there really allows me to get into that feeling.

I saw that you put your headphones on and start working, going on for hours, detaching from the reality around you.

Exactly, sometimes I’m even afraid of going out of that state!

So, isolating yourself helps you entering the right mindset to create, and I think this fits the type of works you create. They’re very personal and intimate but bold at the same time and then there’s the last step, which is when they are displayed, and people see them and they’re not intimate anymore…

Yes, that’s what I like about it, the double dimension. For a lot of my works I have the desire to confront people with things, maybe making them a bit annoyed or angry with my personal stuff. Because I show it in their faces.
I’m usually not able to do that in other ways, I guess… and the work has to be awkward.

Are you comfortable with such intimacy being exposed? Because I see a lot of your works deal with personal experiences, personal relationships and things happened to you

Oh, yeah (laughs). It’s almost a way of coping with them, a bit double edged. Because in a way it’s also self-punishment. On the other hand is really a way to let out those feelings.
For example, something that annoys me the most about those experiences is that I can’t take action, there’s nothing I can do about them and they feel a bit useless. Making works about them gives me the feeling those experiences had a purpose… take advantage of the disadvantage!

Do you do this more for yourself or for the viewer?

For myself and I don’t think people can completely relate to it, but something happens to them too, sometimes. For example, with the work I made with the doors (Voor de zekerheid dat alles goed zit (2022)), I made it for myself, but some people went inside and they started crying… Things like that. So it might connect with people too. But not everyone.
And also when I make it I never think about other people, I just think about myself. It’s more relatable if you do it for yourself because you’re more honest.

What is your relationship with the medium? Because I know you do a lot of drawings, of course, but you also work with other media

Yes, but drawing is the basis. For this project, for example, I chose charcoal because is not very permanent. I like the feeling of it not really grasping on the fabric, it stains the other drawings, things can affect each other’s… The drawings keep on changing every time I hang them, sometimes they even disappear. And also—maybe it’s a bit theatrical—but this work really deals with things of the past. They happened, I dealt with them, I got therapy, in a way it’s over, but still I really hang on very negative behaviors. So in a way I use this leftover of things to still form a perception and charcoal is a leftover of fire that once was there. I think it’s a fitting metaphor (laughs).
And then fabric, of course. I appreciate the coziness and the protective aspect of building a house with it. But it also makes me think of a not stable house, it’s temporary. Because these negative feelings are comfortable to me but not sustainable for a long period of time.

Do you think this reflects somehow the current stage of your life?

Oh yes, for sure! How to explain… After graduating (she recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague) I felt there was no real purpose anymore so a lot of bad feelings came back to me. Also I don’t see the other students anymore, or the teachers, and I feel alone in this, because they experience the same things I do. I had a hard time making art again, because I had to make money, I had my side job and when I got home I was too tired to create, you know how it works…

The good and the bad parts of being an artist… What is the best part of being an artist?

This, just making. The only thing that matters is making things. I’m really enjoying these three weeks at SIGN because I can just focus on making.
I feel the most now that I’m in the process of drawing, of making.

So it’s the process itself, more than the outcome.

Yes, I also like the reactions of the audience, of course, but more the process for myself.

I don’t know if you have this but when I’m working on something, once it is done, once it is outside of me, I feel like it’s not even part of me anymore.

Exactly, sure. I have that too. Once I told this to an old woman who got really angry at me: “How can you say this doesn’t mean anything to you anymore?”

Yeah but you also talk about the process of catharsis through your work, and in your case it’s exactly what it is.

Yes, exactly.

And the language is extremely direct.

Yes, for me it’s important my work is not too pretty and too literal. This is also why I don’t like panting.
Sometimes when I get insecure, I start looking for prettiness and then I hate the drawing. I have this with one of those drawings (points at a female face draw on a piece of fabric on the wall). I really tried to recreate the picture, I didn’t really think about the emotional aspect of it, I was just trying to draw well and now I don’t like it.

So you also use pictures as references, I see a lot of them on the table.

Yes, I have a lot of pictures that I took and I really like, but I never look at them. I want to do something with them, with the feelings they hold, so I use bits of them.

Do you use random pictures of pictures you take of people and environments you know?

Both. A lot of them come from nice times spent with friends, cozy situations just drinking and having fun together. So for me a lot of those pictures look like regular evenings. But during those moments I was not feeling well. And you don’t see this in the pictures. They’re hiding something.
They’re very ambiguous.
I also found this book about children’s diseases, and I said “Wow, I have to use this!”. Children are vulnerable and still incapable of taking care of themselves, and when they get sick there’s nothing they can do about it. It’s something inflicted on you and you’re not able to deal with it on your own. And that’s exactly how I felt, hopeless in some way. This, again, suits this work.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by drawing and living in the same space (for this project Lotte is working and living, literally, at SIGN)?

I feel a bit lonely, I miss my family and my friends and yes, sometimes before starting drawing I feel overwhelmed. But then I start drawing and I feel better, I feel good. I relax when I work.
Drawing is liberating.

Chiara Vignandel