Puck Verkade


Puck Verkade lives and works in
The Hague, The Netherlands.

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Contact: puckverkade@gmail.com

In 2011 Puck Verkade (born 1987, The Hague, The Netherlands) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Netherlands. Verkade conducts sitespecific research and works mainly with video exploring the documentary format. She uses a methodology of complete immersion into situations that often question matters of purpose and its ambiguous nature. She is drawn to subjects that expose the human psychological condition, the way we construct our identity through belief-systems and the individual’s position within society. Verkade won several prizes for young artists with her documentary video installation ´Any Day Now´, where she interacts with members of a Christian community who are preparing themselves for an apocalypse. In the video installation “Multiverse”, we follow her behind the scenes of a Dutch talent show, infiltrating the television industry and questioning its grip on the audience. In recent video installations like Losing Presence and Present Absence she explores new visual solutions of live-editing to show multiscreen documentary material. There's a playful and performative attitude to the medium that she uses, that often questions the role of the spectator as well.

Her work has been shown within a wide variety of Dutch artspaces and galleries such as the GEM museum for contemporary art and Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and the Best of Graduates show in Gallery Ron Mandos in Amsterdam. Her videos have been screened during filmfestivals nationally and internationally in Canada and Croatia. She is selected by the Dutch arts organization Stroom for the talentdevelopment program during 2012 and awarded with a Startersstipend by the Mondriaan Fund for the year 2013.

Parallel to her artistic practice Puck founded Wander, a new artist-in-residence organization in The Hague that seeks to explore cross-disciplinary collaboration and stimulates artistic research.


Solitary Company

2015 | video | 11:30min.

Solitary Company (Silence) is a portrait of a remote island through the eyes of its inhabitants. This is the first episode of a triptych videowork shadowing the micro-community on Hrisey, a remote island on the north-coast of Iceland during the darkest months in winter when all is covered in snow and silence. During a month long residency on Hrisey I conducted interviews with three generations of locals about their personal connection to the island, the influence of living in such a small community off the mainland and their relationship to silence. Throughout the whole video we never get to see their individual faces, only their backs and gaze upon the island through their windows as though they are musing their reflections aloud and all alone. The island itself becomes an additional character, showing its empty landscape and silent presence. The circular frame stresses a visual isolation as well as the physical borders of the island, or maybe even the borders of the individual. Essentially the narrative reflects on the borders of solitude, silence and the inevitable connection to mortality. 



2014 | video | 23:43min

Taking my mothers' death as a point of departure, Losing Presence shows an exploration of the concepts of presence, absence and transcendence. By using my own videomaterial, mainly shot in the buddhistic Thailand, and combining it with found footage of Western popular culture, philosophy and anthroposophy, it becomes a video-collage that stimulates to associate freely on the journey from the material to the immaterial. The video shows references to theories of reincarnation but also considers matters of our current virtual existence.

In 2014 I started a new series of works based on death, transcendence and transitory processes. I've established a new way to show the importance of manipulation by using a different method of editing. In works like Losing Presence and Present Absence I capture a live-edit on my computer screen while composing a video-collage of moving images, soundbites and subtitles. Instead of performing in front of the camera, I use the mouse-cursor to perform my manipulation live on screen. These works are just the beginning of a new pathway that I am developing.



2014 | work in progress | videoseries | duration variable

Staging Loss is an on demand customized ASMR video-session using ‘relics’; personal objects that once belonged to a deceased individual. ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation and relaxation in response to visual, auditory and cognitive stimuli. There is a huge Youtube community of people who produce homemade videos for their online followers to experience ASMR. Staging Loss is based on the original ASMR-videos but takes it a step further by using relics from a deceased person as a treatment for grief. These ongoing series of videos, which are suppose to be confronting but still relaxing, could be seen as a way to deal with mourning. A digital tombstone for memorial.

In this particular video I use the objects that remind me of my mother, who passed away a few years ago. The hand movements, touching and whispering are methods inspired by ASMR but function at the same time a sort of seance reading with contemporary grave goods. Grave goods, in archeology and anthropology, are the items buried along with the body. They are usually personal possessions, supplied to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. I am making personalized ASMR sessions on demand for others and will incorporate these in a documentary series about possible digital mourning procedures.



2013 | 2 channel video installation | 21min

In Persona, my father and I join a spiritual retreat as a means to find peace with our so-called inner self. In a way Persona seems like the most intimate narrative that I've constructed so far, but at the same time it exposes the manipulative power of supposed sincerity. It exposes how we perform ourselves as a character. The video reflects critically but humorously on the contemporary trend of 'finding your true self' and questions if this pursuit is nothing but a social roleplay or a naive dream.        


Persona is a 2 channel installation projected on free floating screens. The left screen shows my fathers’ perspective, while the right screen shows mine. Both my father and I carry a camera to record our experiences and conduct interviews with each other. It's the second time that I've asked my father to jump in as a non-professional cameraman and as a 'performer' or subject this time too. Persona in the word's everyday usage (stems from the Greek), is a social role or a character played by an actor. It is also the title of the well-known feature film by Ingmar Bergman, which shows a duet as well. 


Any Day Now

2011 | 3 channel video | 33min

Any Day Now is a multiple screen documentary based on my visit to the Watchmen of the Night, a christian community who believe that The Netherlands soon will be hit by a tsunami, an indication of the long awaited apocalypse. One of the members received a divine prophecy telling them to spread the word, make shelter and conserve foods. They live on a huge piece of land, above sealevel, aim to be self-reliant and grow their own resources. I brought my video camera, put up my tent in their backyard and lived with them for two weeks. The video installation shows our conversations, the confrontation of our different views on life and reflects on the search for truth and existence. Turning the camera to myself functions as a narrating method when revealing doubts that arise about my own truth.

The three screens show different perspectives, both visually and conceptually, which also demands an active attitude from the audience. It is a spacial installation for the audience to physically relate to. In early works like Any Day Now, Multiverse and Persona I would turn the camera to myself to underline and expose my manipulative double role as a director and performer. By immersing myself in an unknown situation, my own vulnerability acted as a tool to get to the core of the subject from an insider's perspective. The exploration and investigative process becomes visible in the work and often reveals dialogues and personal doubts in a very direct manner.




2012 | ​panoramic video | 20min

Multiverse is based on my participation and infiltration in a Dutch TV-talentshow for artists. It shows the situation behind the scenes, while I'm trying to infiltrate the television industry and question it's grip on the audience by becoming part of it. I invited my father to jump in as an amateur cameraman, which causes a sense of awkwardness in many scenes. The videowork shows TV-episodes made by the television crew, scenes shot by my father and hidden camera footage. 





By conducting interviews with the tv-crew, the director, myself as a participant and adding replies of the audience, the video creates a multiperspective on the situation blurring fact and fiction. The video is projected on a free floating screen with extreme panoramic dimensions to create a sense of voyeurism.

Edith as

The Gemeentemuseum invited me to propose a project with Austrian artist Egon Schiele’s intriguing Portrait of Edith (1915) as a point of departure. I developed Edith as Muse, a multifaceted project featuring one-on-one conversations with the audience, roundtable discussions and mixed media installations with video. For this odd ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ I transformed into a contemporary Edith Schiele. As Edith I'd take visitors on a unique walk around the museum while directing a conversation on identity. Becoming Edith was a tool to develop constructed realities on the spot. With Edith as Muse, I explored the dividing lines between history, imagination and truth together with the audience.          

Made possible by the generous support of Spaanfonds, ​Mondriaan Fonds & Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

‘Edith’ takes the visitor on a walk&talk through the Gemeentemuseum, pausing to consider a number of installations composed of documents, videos and objects. The tour started at a coffeetable inspired by the Wiener Kaffeehauser. While having imaginative tea together, like kids pretend to have a teaparty, I would read to my visitor from one of the books on the table. This starting point would already suggest to think about the thin lines between the real & imaginary, fact & fiction and performativity.
Although I directed the conversations a certain way, every conversation was unique and unscripted. Central to the project is a search for the meaning of identity, a theme that preoccupied Egon Schiele throughout his career but also tends to reappear in my works.



Fact & fiction as well as present & past blended together during the walks, but also in the round table discussions in collaboration with Edwin Becker (Head of Exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum and an expert on Viennese art). In Schiele’s day, the coffee houses of Vienna were an institution: the place where the city’s musicians, philosophers and artists came together to exchange ideas. By participating in the interactive round table discussions in the museum, one could get an authentic taste of the coffeehouse culture of the period. Schiele’s contemporaries were the starting point for an art-historical sketch of that world, transposed to the present. Every member would receive a nametag of one of Schiele's contemporaries to start up a dialogue. 

Zwei Bier Bitte

2010 | video | 10 min

An ego-document on distant love, showing intimate scenes of a couple situated in Berlin. A female voiceover adds a fictional storyline, as we follow the two characters of whom we never see their faces. Manipulation in editing & free association cause fiction and reality to overlap.