Yesterdays, Tomorrow’s Today
Jan Rothuizen (Amsterdam 1968) views the image of the ‘self’ in alight-hearted, common and poetic way, sometimes compassionately, sometimeswith sadness and earnest. He not only seems to be looking for his ownpossible selfs but at the same time shows the way we construct our selfimage and the stories of others.
For Missing Signs the artist collected messages that were placed on treesand walls by people who were seeking help in finding their missing lovedones. A sheet of paper shows the picture of a girl along with her details:the colour of her hair, her length, the clothes she was wearing on the dayshe disappeared, and her name. Through the association of these facts withdetails from other stories, both fictive and non-fictive, the viewer isable to compose a dramatic image, and we can see how this girl got lost inthe woods and how she disappeared into the night.
Rothuizen’s cross-word puzzle is less dramatic, yet similarly intimate inthe questions it poses to those who attempt to solve it. Finding thesolution becomes extra hard when the questions you are confronted with arepersonal ones like “why do you try to please people you dislike?” and “whowould you like to be?”.
In the Stedelijk Museum, the exhibition Life in a Glass House (until 31December) holds two of Rothuizen’s works. For Somewhere over the Rainbow hecollected press-cuttings and pictures from books and magazines; images inwhich he recognised something of himself. The cuttings are not onlycomponents of Rothuizen’s work, but they also show pieces of his ownself-image. In De Dag die was zoals je had gedacht/ The Day that was likeyou expected, also at the Stedelijk Museum, Rothuizen presents the portraitof an old man who, some 30 years ago, had a 3-piece white suit made tomatch an idealised image from a Playboy advertisement.
At Ellen de Bruijne Projects Jan Rothuizen presents new work in the form ofslide-shows. Again the emphasis is on the way people construct images forthemselves, yet now we are looking back from the future.