Erik Mattijssen

Artist & Basicyear Mentor

1. What are you currently working on?

"Luckily as an artist, I can just keep working, for example on the family of cardboard dolls which I once started with Gijs Assmann. What has changed drastically, is my mixed media class as a mentor in the Basicyear of the academy."

2. What has changed for you now that the Rietveld buildings are closed for classes and meetings?

"More than ever I have become aware of how our education thrives in a physical and social context. In the Basicyear each of the seven groups form a close-knit community of 20 students. They work together, inspire, criticize and keep the other alert. There it happens, supported by the workshops where all ideas take shape. It is very sad that this has become impossible, overnight. Teaching has become disabled, with poor attempts to deal with that through Zoom and other channels."

3. And what is staying the same?

"Students are the same. I find them really brave, trying to work on the assignments in small spaces, with minimal materials, dealing with crucial questions as how art can be significant now."

4. Do you have a tip to make these isolating times a little but more joyful?

"Much more than virtual museum tours, I enjoy books again. I showed the class a very tiny one, with images of paintings by Oscar Schlemmer. Seen by the Nazi's as degenerate, he spent the last years of his life in a state of 'inner emigration' in Wuppertal. In 1942, he painted a beautiful, intimate series of 18 small sized paintings called 'Die Fensterbilder'. Looking out of the window of his apartment, he observed his neighbours performing their domestic tasks. And that is what I do now in my all-alone-evening-strolls in the mesmerizing deserted city centre. That is what I can recommend; alone for safety regulations and because you see so much more. As Schlemmer, looking through windows into houses and observe."

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