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Hans Withoos

reality is nothing but your imagination

Academy of Art Tilburg, The Netherlands 1982-1989

Textiles and Photography

I am fascinated by beauty in all its aspects: the beauty of drama, of the body and of light, as well as the beauty of suffering. My photography is set in a world of abundance and artifice, suggesting a certain decadence. It is a world that is both alien and familiar. The figures that crowd the images become archetypes, leaving the viewer with a sense of alienation. My work is multi-layered, with carefully staged images and an idiosyncratic aesthetic. The images sometimes evoke emotions such as suffering, sensuality and oppressiveness.

In 2016 I started my research into the paintings of my ancestor Mathias Withoos (1627-1703). Having studied under Jacob van Camper he travelled to Italy in 1648, where he became one of ‘The Bentveughels’. He was supported by Leopoldo de Medici. I also studied the work of his children, who mostly created gouaches of nature, and by paying attention to every aspect of their work I try to integrate it into my modern view of art.

I started with the symbolism of Mathias’s work, but later I also applied his use of colour and contrasting lines, or aspects of these, to my modern warriors, and so I created my own story.
This resulted in timeless artworks, to which I added emotion, life and people.
My work can be seen as romantic, surrealistic.

In 2020-2021 I worked with Inge Theunissen (‘Itmoves’ – Arnhem) on a surrealistic film in. The 12-minute film shows both my earlier works with Mathias Withoos and the most recent ones, and it gives a good impression of my way of thinking. Inge’s skills in filming and her sympathetic style of editing perfectly complemented my work.
The film is shown in several museums and at art exhibitions, but it is not online yet because we have other plans for it.

Personal information

I have been working with inclusivity for many years now, seeing the beauty of all people, as shown in the series: ‘New Romantics’, ‘My name is Blessing’, ‘Proud People’ and others. My work has deliberately evolved in this direction over the years. It is also about inclusivity in various art disciplines, such as design, dance, film etc.

I am also constantly looking to expand my collaboration with designers, inclusive models, film and dance. (
The total package can be seen in my latest series ‘Modern Warriors’ and ‘Modern day Warriors’.

In my future projects, I will collaborate even more with different forms of art based on inclusivity.

And also…
It is important for me to support charities, as I have previously done for the Rabobank Foundation (‘Proud People’ – 2016), and the Orange Babies Foundation (‘My name is Blessing, from Zambia with Love’ – 2013).