Born in 1959 in Deventer, Netherlands, youngest of 5 children. My father’s recordshop specialized in Old Jazz music was of large influence, as well as my mother’s appetite for Opera and my brother’s abundant A to Z collection of Popmusic. A mix of everything and a lot of contrast in musical taste I grew up with. But no visual art or literature.
I drew, wrote small stories, made fake radio commercials, played library, wrote poems and designed costumes for the leading role (played by my best friend) of the school play when I was 11.
Luckily I discovered the brilliant stories by Dutch artist Marten Toonder as a child, and other writers -mostly humorous -that enlightened my dark age, living in a Dutch Bible belt small town. The seventies were no fun at all in such a place. Absurdity made sense. Dutch television however, offered me new views, with experimental television programs, literature, cabaret, stand-up comedy, acts of humorists and wonderful literary theatre like ‘Herenleed’ (Gentlemen’s regret) by Dutch painter Armando and writer Cherry Duyns. They represented dignity, philosophical absurdity and connection to life.
Studying at Art school, and after, I seemed to be attracted over and again by visual theatre, music and art that were rebellious, daring or provoking. A connection that fed me thoroughly; knowing art makes sense, makes you live, survive even in most difficult periods. Art is food for the soul. Creating energy, experiment and re-use of themes, work and materials are the basis of my work ever since.
Selfie december Cis, photography & digital print, 2015
personal textual statement:
Every day, when I look in the mirror, I see a victim ánd an offender. I am innocent and guilty. Brave and fearful. Both, ongoing.
A repetitive dualistic view on myself and any other child or adult. Playful it can be and judging others at the same time. Young at heart and/or rigid in ideas.
By experience I know its easy to call someone guilty, to devide between right and wrong. To tell (or think so) who’s the sinner, who the virtuous.
We look at the refugees. Some of them might float, others drown or suffocate on the way. And we believers, good-doers, call each other names; luck seekers, radicals, Jews, black, asian, muslim, gay, foreigner, stranger or scapegoat. Over and over again. But to be aware of one’s shortcomings, is recognizing the vulnerability of every individual alike.
Isn’t it time to see we’re áll seeking the same? And we are all right and wrong incarnated? There is no end to terror with more fight against it, but looking for peace in oneself and try spreading that.
To be both, bad and good, I tried to visualize in my Selfie.
Cis Bakker, Utrecht, 22 December 2015