Persona August, 8th 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 225 - Annie Schoterman


World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 225 – Annie Schoterman

The exhibition ‘Annie Schoterman – FACES & other works’ was shown a few months ago in Pulchri. Unfortunately I did not see that exhibition, but I made up for it a little bit more recently by watching her triptych of yellow-black FACES at Pulchri’s Spring Exhibition. Very nice.

Visiting her in her studio at the cultural business park in Amsterdam-West ‘De 1800 Roeden’, a former ammunition depot in the middle of nature on the western edge of Amsterdam, I see many more FACES. Three hanging on the wall, and dozens in plastic folders on the storage cupboards.

Versie 2

Face and key

All FACES have the same basic shape: a face with a hole at the height of the spot between the eyes and the tip of the nose. But you can see not only a face in it, but also a key. The FACES are filled in with watercolor paint in a very varied way. Every FACE came into existence quite intuitively and reflected the mood and thoughts of Annie Schoterman at the moment she made it. She already has more than 200.

Annie Schoterman: “Within this shape, without front or back, I had to tell my story, I could ‘empty’ my own head in it. I just call this the ‘weeding’ of the mind, the release of old content for new impressions and perceptions.” It is a kind of diary. When Annie looks back – she has been doing it for ten years – it looks like she sees ‘friends’. Watercoloring the basic shape also created an adventure every time. “It is unpredictable how a color makes its way with a lot of water and already determines the course of the performance. It is an extra gift that you get. “

annie schoterman – MB 3

Seven sins and seven virtues

Not only the FACES, but all Annie’s work comes from the need and necessity to shape the world around her, in all facets, and to create space by clearing her head. “A literary, religious or philosophical subject has often been the starting point. In recent years it has been more ‘abstract’ stories, ideas that arise from daily life. “

A special series in the FACES are the seven sins (vanity, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, laziness) and the seven virtues (wisdom, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, charity).

annie schoterman – MB 4

There are two rooms in her studio. She has rented out the first space for a while, it looks very neat and tidy. The second one, where we are, is a lot more filled. On the wall above the connecting door I see a series of beetles with a hard dark armor, but with pink legs, which on closer inspection turn out to be Barbiedoll arms and legs.

annie schoterman – MB 5


Annie Schoterman: “They are aliens or cyborgs, beetle-like creatures. I made them for a major project in Italy. I want to show them in the ‘Ex-Manicomio’ in Rome, one pavilion is the Museo Laboratorio della Mente. I would like to do that in collaboration with Museum Het Dolhuys (Museum of the Mind) in Haarlem. In her essay A Cyborg Manifesto from 1985, the American feminist biologist, philosopher and sociologist Donna Haraway argued for the abolition of the rigid boundaries between humans and animals, organisms and machines, men and women. According to her views on the concept of cyborg, many people who now roam the earth are in fact already cyborgs. Someone who has aids such as a pacemaker and hearing aid already meets the condition of ‘cyborg’. “

annie schoterman – MB 6

Anti psychiatry

In that Italian Manicomio, that ‘madhouse’, first in Trieste, the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia worked, who became widely known as the champion of ‘anti-psychiatry’, democratic psychiatry. Annie, who lived and worked for twelve years in Selci and Cantalupo in the Sabina, in the countryside near Rome, was very impressed by that. She still regularly visits Italy every year. “We had more than two hectares of land on our former Italian house. That piece of land followed the same principle as the FACES: there was a base, an outline, and a shape. And no front and back either. I also started to fill that in my way. ”

“Last year Anti-Psychiatry was 40 years old. Basaglia opened the doors at the time. In my family, I also came into contact with psychiatry in the past. I also find psychiatric patients interesting, they are people who struggle with existence. They – and also artists / philosophers and poets – are more interesting than the ‘healthy’ people. It would have been nice if that exhibition had already taken place last year. But it can still be realised. “

annie schoterman – MB 7

Stations of the Cross project

When asked about a key work, she calls the Stations of the Cross project ‘Where are you from? // Where are we going?’ It was first exhibited in the Bergkerk in Deventer in 2010. In her youth, Deventer was the ‘city’ for her, to which she cycled from the village of Wesepe / Olst. 14 + 1 frescoes were placed in the apse of the church (the space behind the altar). Against the pillars four ladders with broken rungs and, in the middle, in the light, a ‘NEST’, an enlarged crown of thorns, a corona.

The ladders referred to the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, the dream of patriarch Jacob, which connected heaven and earth, and along which angels descended to maintain contact between up – and downstairs. On the frescoes, cotton-like skies resembling fanning stripes left behind by a fighter jet with a ‘compass needle’ in it. “The work depicts a universal theme representing the life journey of every person, and the falling and getting up.”

annie schoterman – MB 8

In Italy it was shown two years later in Rome, in Sala Santa Rita. I see it in the accompanying booklet. At the frescoes poems / text fragments are written by various authors, with texts by Annie. In ’94 she already worked on abstracted stations. She shows some examples, often it has taken a T-shape. The individual stations vary from red to red-black. There are a number of dark places that correspond to the falls (three) of Christ on his last journey. It becomes lighter at the end. At the moment she is more concerned with the underground, root life.

annie schoterman – MB 9


She is still in Italy a few times every year. “Italy is inspiring to me, especially the attitude of the Italians. Also the theater-like.” And of all Italian cities, Rome is her favorite city. “In Rome they will not get rid of a nice old tree if they are working on a road improvement. They prefer to make a turn around it. In the Netherlands it is different. On the Nassaukade, where I live, beautiful trees have to disappear because of a parking garage. We have been campaigning against it for a long time and we have continued to the Council of State. “

Finally, does she have a nice closing word? “I try to bring order to the chaos. Agnes Martin and Yayoi Kusama are inspiring examples. Both had psychiatric problems at times. Martin left for the New Mexico desert where she made abstract expressionist work and Kusama began painting ‘polkadots’ on walls, floors, objects, herself and assistants. Kusama lives in a psychiatric institution, has her studio nearby. Her work is now on display in Museum Voorlinden. No matter how different they are, I have both artists ‘in me’. I admire them enormously. ”



1) FACE, ‘Noli me tangere’, watercolor, 2014, 2) FACE, ‘Da vicino nessuno è normal’ watercolor, 2018, 3) FACE ‘FACE ’14 + 1’ 2014, 4) ‘FACE’, ‘A path to go’, watercolor, 2018, 5) ‘Like Gregor Samsa ….’, watercolor 2016, 6) ‘Alien’, watercolor 2017, 7) ‘Alien’, watercolor 2017, 8) ‘System’, watercolor 2018, 9) Installation Bergkerk in Deventer (2000), ‘Where are you from? // Where are we going ?, 10) portrait Annie Schoterman

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