A ‘hospitable’ intervention transforming the WCs into a playful ‘total artwork’
Julie Verhoeven’s artistic praxis moves easily between art, fashion and design. She studied fashion design at the Kent Institute of Art & Design and then worked for various designers including John Galliano, Martine Sitbon and Louis Vuitton. Alongside her activity in the fashion world, she makes art for exhibitions (often in collaboration with other artists like Jimmy Merris, Will Benedict or Anthea Hamilton), using a broad range of media including installations, drawings and video. In these works, she has established an iconographic system distinguished by its eclectic experimentation with forms, colours and textures, and by references to art history: her drawings engage with the work of Egon Schiele, and her installations are like ‘scatter pieces’, staging collisions between all kinds of products from pop culture. These ‘total artworks’ always have a political dimension – very often they root in feminism and class equality – as well as showing how different ideologies deal with a repertoire of forms.
Her Frieze Project The Toilet Attendant… Now Wash Your Hands (2016) was a performative intervention in one of the washrooms complexes at the fair – probably the most egalitarian space within the whole event. Verhoeven’s playful architectural and performance interventions not just created a more hospitable environment but also opened up space for critical thinking on the invisibility of certain working groups and labour ethics.
Julie Verhoeven (b. 1969, UK). Lives and works in London
Julie Verhoeven has exhibited internationally, including solo shows at ICA, London (2014), Stedelijk Museum’s-Hertogenbosch, Holburne Museum of Art, Bath (both 2013), and ZINGERpresents, Amsterdam (2011).