Puck Verkade

 

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

Please request to view full length videos.
Contact: puckverkade@gmail.com

BIO
Puck Verkade's (1987, The Hague, Netherlands) artistic practice is marked by the exploration of how human beings give meaning to life. Using an investigative documentary method, she questions matters of purpose and their 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. After receiving her BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (2011), Verkade’s work has been shown at various institutions, for instance at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam. She recently completed residencies in Thailand and Iceland and will start her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London. In 2016 she will have a solo exhibition at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague.

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.
 www.go-wander.org

 

Solitary Company

2015 | video | 10 min.

Solitary Company is a portrait of a remote island as seen through the eyes of its inhabitants. This is the first episode of a triptych about the micro-community of Hrisey, a remote island off 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 local people about their personal connection with the island, the effect of living in such a small community off the mainland, and their relationship to silence. Throughout the video we never get to see the faces of the interviewees, only their backs and the views they can see through the windows. The island itself thus becomes an additional character, showing its empty landscape and silent presence. The circular frame stresses visual isolation as well as the physical borders of the island. Essentially the narrative reflects on the borders of solitude, on silence and its inevitable connection to mortality.

 

Losing
Presence

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.

Losing Presence is part of 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. 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.

 

Persona

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 | 30min

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.

 

 

Multiverse

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
Muse

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.