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Interview

Galerie Kijker

The photographs of Elizabeth Koning testify of intensive, old-fashioned labour. You’ll see portraits of both adults and children, grown still, soberly, in almost painted surroundings. It seems like an excursion through art history, sometimes chronological, sometimes suddenly leaping in time. Icons of our unconscious world, that carry my personal picture language. The portraits have been photographed with a great deal of consideration and they are automatically examined with much attention. The persons seem very lifelike, because I slightly make use of the sfumato technique amongst other things, but also because they are extremely realistically photographed, with all the details of the genuine face, wrinkles not excluded. They seem like renaissance portraits, Bellini, Rafael, Holbein. But at the same time painters like Co Westerik or Pyke Koch come into memory.She use the technique of the perspective well. It remains a Dutch signature. The wrapping Italian horizon has been moved to the level of the Low Countries. The model is surrounded by cloudy skies, which in their full Dutch scope, give a spiritualised dimension. The landscape has been immersed in an estranged transparent atmosphere, like we can still contemplate from the towers in Tuscany nowadays. The work itself is best compared with the tempera art of painting, a method of painting in which pigments are mixed with an emulsion of water and egg yolk, used a lot in the Italian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth century, for both panel paintings and fresco. Tempera colours are bright and transparent, although there is little time to mix them because the paint dries really fast. Fluent transitions between colours are created by adding lighter and darker dots or lines to a dried up painted area. Oil or beeswax gives it a silky shine.The portrait takes you in, it will bring on emotions. At first you examine it remotely and when you move closer towards it, you can see that the photograph has a skin as it were. It is like touching with your eyes. Such as the old masters did with the tempera technique, she will put on layer by layer until the exact sober colour has been achieved. Because of this the photograph will obtain a velvet like, highly brilliant effect. She developed a tranquil style, within the Dutch photography. Although her technique is contemporary, she didden’t join the mainstream. She want the models to be as clean as possible. She gives clothing recommendations in advance and she das the hair herself. Then I start to take the photographs. There are many windows and there’s studio lighting and that combination works really well. At that moment she still isn’t completely influenced by what it will become later on. After that, things will go instinctively. Actually she's moulding the model and I want to reach for something that will touch emotions aesthetically, accentuate the best features of someone physically. Although all portraits show a character of their own, they nevertheless have become timeless.

Elizabeth Koning paint with pixels: portraits of adults, adolescents and children. It’s being built layer by layer. Sometimes elements will remain unused until I’ve found the right composition. Finally it will be printed in the laboratory, a master print. This print will be pasted on aluminium foil according to a special procedure and will be fixated between a highly glossed perspective, so the artefact can be placed tightly on the wall with two simple screws. Recently a professor, Erasmus MC, has bought two photo's for his art collection. In all surroundings it’s a great surprise what the effect will be. But however it will turn out, people will remain my most important subject.

Interview
Galerie Kijker

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