Into intimacy

The work of Anique Weve (1980) reflects her investigations into identity and intimacy within the framework of social practice and expectations. These investigations take on different shapes, many of them in some way originating in autobiographical experiences. This personal dimension adds a strong sense of presence to her art, as Weve herself is very visible, at times almost exposed in her work. She draws on elements from her direct environment and utilises people from her own life.

She mainly works within two areas; photography, both still and film, and interventions with audience interaction. Her photos are often staged studio portraits or self-portraits presented in series. As well as being individual works in their own right, the photos also function as initial sketches for projects gathered in a visual diary.

In her photography, Weve often focuses on the universally human; the moments in our lives and the sides of ourselves which we recognise - also the ones, we do not necessarily put on display.
In her self-portraits, she places herself in different recognisable situations, some of them uncomfortable, and invites the viewer to join her. Not afraid to use her own physicality, she creates at times quite confronting works, though always with underlying humour. In an ongoing photo series, she makes self-portraits in situations where her face has turned red - e.g. after exercising, after sex or because of embarrassment. Occasionally, we all turn red in the face but normally these are intimate moments which remain private. Weve shares these moments with her viewers, exhibiting general human conditions with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility.

Through her interventions, Weve conducts research into social behavior. Rather than site-specific, her works are person-specific, establishing individual meetings between the participants and the artist. In her interventions, she assumes different roles, for example as a hostess or a d.j., and sets the scene for various social encounters which unfold within the set frame and from there take on lives of their own. She creates intimate spaces, either social/symbolic or physical, and inside these spaces, her audience becomes co-creators.

In her work The New Family, Weve constructs temporary families by inviting a small group of strangers to spend a day with her and giving each of them a role as a member of the family. Today, family structures are changing but strong cultural norms regarding family life are still prevailing; this work investigates among other things if a feeling of connectedness can emerge within a group of strangers.

Alongside symbolic spaces between people, she creates concrete spaces, building small rooms where guests are invited to gather and socialise. What starts out as an artist-led activity turns into a situation where the setting itself might have been staged, but the intimacy becomes real.

In the work Het Honden Hok, a portable installation shaped like a dog house containing a bar, she examines a certain subculture that often develops in groups of teenagers in small Dutch villages.
A subculture characterised by a youthful opposition to society and its rules, and which often involves alcohol consumption in sheds and makeshift cabins. By treating this theme in an artistic way, she acknowledges its existence and the value it has, despite society's contrary claim - and prompts her audience to also create their own rules in life.

Themes such as fitting into society, failure to meet social norms and a search for alternative ways to navigate in life are treated with a soft touch, a playfulness and an acceptance of the fact that humans and social interactions are complex.

While avoiding authoritative answers, Anique Weve presents her research and makes visual recordings of being human - complete with all the flaws, the odd bits, the strengths and the thrills that this entails.