Diana Discovers the Pregnancy of Callisto, 2017, Courtesy: die Künstlerin und Gregor Podnar © Helen Verhoeven, Foto: Peter Cox

AUSGEZEICHNET #7: Helen Verhoeven

Helen Verhoeven’s paintings often show people in dream-like or theatrically staged situations. The color palette is determined by blue, brown and pink tones, there is usually a threatening, cool atmosphere.

The artist approaches her subjects with a certain distance. Her figures appear isolated, lonely and fragile, often lacking individual facial features. The figures seem to merely imitate social norms and rules without really understanding them. For all their detachment in portrayal, they nevertheless evoke compassion.

Verhoeven’s research and preparation of her works are elaborate: She often refers to art historical motifs and creates extensive archives of images for them, also making collages and sketches for her compositions. Since artificial intelligence can now do this work almost perfectly, Verhoeven has begun to integrate the new technology into her artistic work. She tries to identify aspects of superiority, judgment, imagination and aesthetics and hence their impact on her painting.

In Bonn, the artist will show a selection of works from the last four years, including paintings created especially for the exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn.

Helen Verhoeven (born 1974 in Leiden, NL) moved to the USA in 1986. There she attended the San Francisco Art Institute and the New York Academy of Art and, back in the Netherlands, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In 2008 she was awarded the Dutch Royal Award for Modern Painting, in 2010 the Wolvecamp Painting Award, and in 2019 the ABN-AMRO Art Prize. In 2022, she was awarded the Förderstipendium of the Stiftung Kunstfonds. Verhoeven’s works can be found in numerous collections and museums, such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, ALBERTINA, Vienna – The ESSL Collection and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. Helen Verhoeven lives and works in Berlin.

AUSGEZEICHNET is an exhibition format conceived together with the Stiftung Kunstfonds. Each autumn, former fellows of the Kunstfonds occupy a room in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Bonn. The exhibition series takes on the museum’s perspective in viewing artistic positions supported by the Kunstfonds.


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