It’s a Bird. No, it’s a Swan. An attempt to capture Loes

This work is about Loes, an artist who spent her life in obscurity.

Unable to capture the essence of Loes, curator Mindy Lamers never executed her plans for a monographic exhibition about the artist. When Eva van Ooijen discovered Mindy's plans it was clear to her that these needed to be shown. By exhibiting these models Eva wants to call attention to Loes’ artworks that  are impressive and allusive at the same time because of their variety in styles and mediums. Eva uses this platform as a testing ground in the hopes of getting Loes acknowledged by the art world.

While the female is brooding the male has taken it's observation post.

    From: Eva van Ooijen
Subject: Loes
     Date: 12 Mei 2022 at 20:34
        To: Mindy Lamers

Dear Mindy Lamers, 

This email is about Loes. 

I hope this piques your interest. Please let me introduce myself.
I am Eva and currently finishing up my Master in Artistic research at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. In my first year I started investigating Dr. A., a possible fraudulent scientist who claimed to have found a settlement in the Amazon region, and accumulated an extensive archive on him.

But I was unable to finish my work on Dr. A., and after careful consideration decided to donate my archive to Andreas Nimmerdor, an investigative journalist I got to know while visiting a lecture: Fetishising the Archive. I was convinced he could bring this project to a successful end. 

He decided he wanted to make a podcast about Dr. A. and wrote a proposal.
I in return, used his proposal and presented it as my thesis. 

Sorry, I got a little off track here. What I want to tell you is that Andreas Nimmerdor found out that Dr. A. was not the author of his work but that he was the embodied pseudonym of his wife, the artist Loes. 

That is how I came to you. After reading Nimmerdors proposal I decided I wanted to make a show of Loes’ work. I wrote to a number of museums including the Stedelijk Museum in Enschede. 

To my surprise they wrote me back to say that someone sent them a similar proposal more than 5 years ago. That someone being you. And that while they were interested, in the end the show never came to fruition.

You can imagine my surprise. I thought I had quite a unique subject here. I hope you are willing to tell me about your discovery of Loes, and the show you were planning to make. What happened to it?

Kind regards, Eva van Ooijen 

Ps. I attach my thesis: A Horse Dressed Up Like A Zebra 

   From: Mindy Lamers
Subject: Re: Loes
     Date: 19 Mei 2022 at 13:48
        To: Eva van Ooijen

Dear Eva, 

Thank you for writing.
I had not thought about Loes for a while and your email brought up conflicting    emotions. 

My dreams of making an exhibition about Loes, although faded, I realize are still present. And now I feel like I have competition in who will show her work first.

But Loes consumed me for two years of my life. And I am unsure if I want to get into that again. I had to consider how much I am willing to share with you. 

After reading Nimmerdor’s proposal (your thesis) and some nights of mulling it over, I decided I do want to share my experience with Loes, who remains hidden in drawers, inside closets, inside my house. 

How did I find her?

Her work was in a box in my attic for seventeen years. I got it from my mother when I was a student at the Rietveld Academy, “materials to use for your collages” she told me. But one year later I quit my studies. The box remained untouched. Until I rediscovered it and was struck by the quality of the works. I soon found out what Nimmerdor found out and I saw a chance. 

It was 2017 and there was a demand for older female artists. Recently Carmen Herera had her first big museum show at the age of 100. And the discovery of Vivian Maier (shortly after her death) was captured in the hit documentary Finding Vivian Maier.

I studied art history and curated some small shows. I knew this could be my breakthrough. 

It started out good. The Stedelijk Museum Enschede was very interested in a      show about Loes. The Dutch Vivian they dubbed her in our meetings. 

But a problem arose. 

They wanted to know more about Loes. And I looked. Sometimes I even convinced myself I found something. Was that her in the background of that picture? Could that be a picture of her studio, or maybe that? In all honesty no matter how hard I tried I could only establish 3 facts. 

She was married to Dr. A. After one year of marriage they had a daughter named Geraldien Willemien. And at one point they got divorced. No information on her before she got married, and  nothing after.

Then can we get to know Loes through her art? 

Her work is very versatile in medium as well as in style. So that does not give us a grip on Loes. But I did detect some subjects she was interested in. 

She used a lot of animals in her works to express thoughts about feminism and motherhood. Maybe she was so alone and detached from human interaction that she related to animals more than humans? 

Other works baffled me. Why did she photograph a selection of self portraits of Vincent van Gogh for instance? That on closer inspection, turned out to be fakes, portraits, painted by Leonhard Wacker. 

After two years I did not have any answers. And at times it felt like I was composing Loes work. Unable to capture her essence, I started to doubt everything I discovered. Reading your email there is one thing that consoles me: Nimmendor's discovery of Loes proves I was right all along: Loes is an artist.