The Heroine’s Journey of Caroline Koenders

The thing I love most about my work as a printmaker is the possibility it gives me to fully express myself. I have created my own language over the years which gives me respect and distinguishes me from my colleagues. It is who I am.

Perfect happiness is the moment I lift the blanket from my etching press to see the paper and discover a perfectly printed new piece.

My greatest fear is losing my beloved ones.

The trait that I most deplore in myself is my tendency to postpone difficult things until the very last moment.

The living person in my profession that I admire most is the Spanish artist, sculptor and printmaker, Chillida. His work blows me away. There is the work of Indian/British sculptor Anish Kapoor that I love. The delicate works of the Japanese sculptor Hiroyuki Hamada, and there is the Taiwanese Boonmee Sangkum, a young printmaker whom I met In Russia, with excellent mezzotints. Mind blowing.

My greatest extravagance is collecting prints, buying or exchanging, my collection must consist over 500 pieces by now.

I would lie on occasions where I felt a strong need need to impress. I would not call it lying, but exaggerating. Blowing things out of proportion a bit.

What I dislike in my work is the fact that it is very time consuming. It is a slow process. On the other hand, I love the meditative character of working on a piece for many days. So,.. there is no real dislike actually.

I was happy, and am always happy, when I work. In my own studio, both in Greece and the Netherlands. But also during residencies in printmaking studios abroad. I loved working in China, my working period in Canada and Germany were great, and next year I am looking forward to a 6 weeks stay in the printmaking studio in Venice. It is inspiring to work in a collective, to be able to share knowledge.

I do not know what I would want to change in myself. I feel very fortunate with my life and the things that I do. With the international life I have been living last years. With the respect for my work.

My greatest achievements considering my work have been last years. I won several prices and honourable awards for my work, just finished a curator project in the state art museum of Novosibirsk (R), an exhibition in the museum of fine art in Yekaterinburg (R) and participated in museum MKK in Kleve (Germany.

I have always wanted to live in 2 countries, the Netherlands and Greece. I do live in these 2 countries, approximately on 50/50 base. But I would also like to stay for some years in a place like New York.

My most treasured possession? I wouldn’t know. Everything is replaceable. But if I had to choose I would go for my old German etching press.

My most marked characteristic is patience.

In the winter I live in the city, in the summer in a remoted village in the mountains of Greece. My favourite place in my city is the Arthouse, with art movies, performances and theatre, where you can enjoy a drink or a meal with friends. But most of all watch good art movies. Recently on old factory has transformed as hotspot for creative people. A nice restaurant with view on the river is another great place.

Books that influenced my life. My ideas about feminism were formed when I was young, after reading all books of Simone the Bauvoir. After her followed many more inspiring women as Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf. Elias Canetti has been very inspiring, as has Tournier and Thomas Mann. The great

Russian literature I love forever, Philip Roth I love because of his brilliant mind, and the Greek mythology I keep on reading. Literature is the most substantial and stable part of my life. I read every day ever since I could.

On my last day I would listen to Bach Cantatas, especially 106 Gottes Zeit, the part “in deine Hände”, And I would want to listen to my favourite Greek songs, especially those of Manos Xatzidakis.

My tragic hero in fiction is Hans Castorp, protagonist of the Magic Mountain, the great novel of Thomas Mann. I have (re)read this book over again, a complex and ambiguous novel.

My heroine in real life is Naomi Klein, she keeps me sharp.

As movie lover it is hard to recommend just one movie but if I had to it would be Melancholia from Lars von Trierr.

Art plays a huge role in my life. As an artist creativity is my oxygen. Visual arts, music, literature, opera, movies are my matrix. Being in my studio and creating art is my base. Teaching art, collecting or curating art is another part of my life. I would say that everything I do in life has a link to my work as artist.

My greatest fan and sparring partner is visual artist Bart Elfrink. We reflect on each other’s work every day.

In the beginning of 2019 I will be working and teaching in the printmaking studio in Venice, the Scuolo Grafica, as invited artist with full fellowship. Afterwards my work will be exhibited in SG Gallery in Venice. I am very excited about this residency. In August I will be back in Yekatrinburg, to participate in the International Mezzotint Festival. I am looking forward to meet my fellow printmakers again and have a great time. There will probably a follow-up of my curated project from the Novosibirsk Print Triennial in the Netherlands, In the beautiful space of Kunstliefde in Utrecht.

My works can be seen on my website www.carolinekoenders.nl You can contact me by mail: info@carolinekoenders.nl

On YouTube I have my own channel, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njr1Ell2YOI&t=58s to see a demonstration or

On Instagram I recently started as caroline.koenders.printmaker

I would recommend German printmaker Brigitte Gmachreich-Junemann and Dutch painter Jessica Skowroneck as heroins. Allso Marion Wagenvoort, head of Kunstliefde Utrecht as well as Kristien van den Oever, director of AGA LAB Amsterdam.

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