Jan Rothuizen

Yesterdays, Tomorrow’s Today

Jan Rothuizen (Amsterdam 1968) views the image of the ‘self’ in alight-hearted, common and poetic way, sometimes compassionately, sometimes with sadness and earnest. He not only seems to be looking for his own possible selfs but at the same time shows the way we construct our self image and the stories of others. For Missing Signs the artist collected messages that were placed on trees and walls by people who were seeking help in finding their missing loved ones. A sheet of paper shows the picture of a girl along with her details:the colour of her hair, her length, the clothes she was wearing on the day she disappeared, and her name. Through the association of these facts with details from other stories, both fictive and non-fictive, the viewer is able to compose a dramatic image, and we can see how this girl got lost in the woods and how she disappeared into the night. Rothuizen’s cross-word puzzle is less dramatic, yet similarly intimate in the questions it poses to those who attempt to solve it. Finding the solution becomes extra hard when the questions you are confronted with are personal ones like “why do you try to please people you dislike?” and “who would you like to be?”. In the Stedelijk Museum, the exhibition Life in a Glass House (until 31December) holds two of Rothuizen’s works. For Somewhere over the Rainbow he collected press-cuttings and pictures from books and magazines; images in which he recognised something of himself. The cuttings are not only components of Rothuizen’s work, but they also show pieces of his own self-image. In De Dag die was zoals je had gedacht/ The Day that was like you expected, also at the Stedelijk Museum, Rothuizen presents the portrait of an old man who, some 30 years ago, had a 3-piece white suit made to match an idealised image from a Playboy advertisement. At Ellen de Bruijne Projects Jan Rothuizen presents new work in the form of slide-shows. Again the emphasis is on the way people construct images for themselves, yet now we are looking back from the future.

Exhibition: 26/10/02 – 30/11/02