Unpacking the 3Package Deal 2016: Ticho Brouwers & Rosa Sijben

December 19, 2016

In the upcoming months, we’ll be catching up with the fifteen eclectic, genre-bending participants of the 3Package Deal 2016 as they work on their craft and prepare themselves for their final presentations in the wide-ranging fields of visual arts, fashion, film, theatre, urban dance, social design and even olfactory art.

This double interview pairs visual artists Rosa Sijben and Ticho Brouwers. Though ostensibly from similar backgrounds - both from ‘88, both from the Netherlands, both recently graduated from the Rietveld Academy and both living in the same building - they’d only met once before. During a tour of Brouwers’ studio in the old Burgerweeshuis in Amsterdam-Zuid, topics ranged from building sites to asylum shelters, from paludariums to Pierre Huyghe’s dog, and from Eastern philosophy to quantum physics. But most importantly of course, art. An attempted summary of a multifarious conversation.

The dreaded elevator pitch

Asked to describe their core focus, Brouwers reluctantly agrees to go first. "I prefer to offer a perspective rather than an interpretation. An object can become something completely different if you pick it up and turn it around. I think that’s a much more generous thing to offer an audience." Brouwers has worked with video, furniture, glass, even ginger beer - whatever fits the project, it seems. Sijben’s work is equally versatile, from aluminum objects to performative social experiments. Often open to interpretation, her objects hint at a specific purpose which is never revealed. "I like how that makes your head spin. I also like to explore the ways in which objects are influenced by context. And all of that is obviously related, because objects that are ambiguous are also easier to represent in different ways."

Take-away art

Both artists have a passionate, curious approach towards investigating reality. Brouwers, for instance, wonders whether can an artwork can still be described as such if it’s taken out of the confines of an exhibition. "Perhaps it only exists at that particular time, in that particular context." Some of Sijben’s smaller objects are supposed to be “carried around in your pocket.” Imagine bringing art to the park with friends, regardless of a specific art-related place or moment. The notion of time in Sijben’s work is apparent in her performances - her ‘situational choreographies’, as one curator called them. In a way, her take-away objects create extremely outstretched situations, so they’re always time-dependent. "Those object are so fluid they’re sort of permanently on show." Brouwers has also organized situations in his studio. His graduation show was a representation of things that had occurred there. Objects serving as props, enabling a work to exist in more ways than one. "The situations were all part of the installation, so the people that were present at those moments all recognized something else."

Catching ideas

If context is everything, location is critical. Brouwers' (construction) work is always heavily influenced by his surroundings. He often attempts to analyze architectural structures from the inside. The Burgerweeshuis, a former orphanage, seems to be a perfect subject. A playground of patterned potholes, glass vistas and an other-worldly domed rooftop - a concrete Teletubby Land that Sijben would want to “sit on every day”. In short, an ideal spot for dream catching. The following year, both will embrace the chance to deepen their practice - whether it’s potential activism (Sijben) or things that he "himself would like to see" (Brouwers). In a way, the 3Package Deal offers a chance to open up to ideas. Brouwers: "I like thinking an idea is something you receive, not something you have." Sijben agrees: "It's all about creating the right conditions, catching an idea and running with it." Fishing rods at the ready!

About the 3Package Deal

The 3Package Deal talent scheme - a collaboration between the AFK and Bureau Broedplaatsen (BBp) - assists and encourages exceptional young artists through affordable live/work spaces, a development budget of € 22.500 and professional encouragement from a coalition of renowned Amsterdam art institutions. Rosa Sijben is part of the Public Playground Coalition which consists of the Over 't IJ Festival, Foundation NDSM wharf, Theaterplatform PickUp and Das Theatre. Brouwers is part of the Visual Art Coalition which is made up of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Foam and De Appel.