Amber Schaafsma


Dutch/Indonesian, 1998

Instagram: @Amberrroads

Thesis: Romantic Irony For the Wound Realist

When the novelty settles, Until the dust wears off. Is the tile of my graduation work. A triptych depicting an indoor and outdoor scene of a bar and it’s surroundings, painted with acrylics on canvas. In these works I am exploring the twilight zone between convincing but also disillusioning through figurative painting. I attempt to revisit moments that have already burnt out, but whose energy is still lingering, waiting to be romanticised.
There is no presence in flesh in the painting, there is just you, the viewer. I’m retracing the presence, and questioning cliche ‘romantic’ tropes and devices. If everything tries to convey the same thing, does it fall flat or convince? Questioning these romantic tropes whilst trying to portray them in a decor nor scenery. I want you to question romanticising, ironically.
In my Thesis titled: “Romantic Irony For the wounded realist” I explore ‘the unfulfilling desire’ and the arguable delusion and hypocrisy that comes with hope. Romantic Irony is a literary trope that highlights a contrast between the protagonist's romantic ideals and the reality of their situations.
In a sense it is a self-portrait mixed with a zeitgeist that thinks it is self aware. Aware of it’s own hypocrisy and sensibility to the outside world. Delusion is connected to romanticising for me whereas irony is connected to sensibility. Transcending figurative content I want to dress the meta-fictional layer to both invite and exclude the viewer. As I uncover and reveal my own delusions in my work, I ironically and inevitably bundle and endorse them. And will continue to romanticise after this uncovering either inevitably, hypocritically, figuratively.
Romanticising and ironising, are the literary and visual embodiment of a smirk and a wink to me. It’s the in the flesh and metaphorical ‘tongue in cheek’. It all stands it’s ground but, is still peeking over the edge. Through paintings, videos and audio pieces I explore these themes. As for my final work I convey them through a painting filled to the brim.