1. How did you decide to become an artist in the first place?
Do you think you can decide to become an artist? I don’t know about that. With me what happens is that the art searches me out and I have to provide an answer. So, giving this answer constitutes the decision to be an artist.

The power of imagination has always been there, ever since I was very young. Building huts, constructing a model railway with my father, making photos, designing window displays. It was all second nature to me.

I became aware of my artist’s eye when an art photographer I knew said to me: ‘I wish I’d taken those photos!’ I got him to develop my film rolls and understood that I look at things slightly differently than the average person. The connection between power of imagination and being a professional artist only came much later. I had already been active semi-professionally in various places, including the Elswout estate, a condemned Roman Catholic church and the Great Church, all in the Haarlem area where I then lived. But when a huge space in the Vrijhof of the University of Twente in the city of Enschede was made available to me to show the interactive dance installation Traveling of the Heart, then I knew it and could say: I am an artist.

2. Why did you choose the audiovisual form to deliver your message?
I don’t know if I deliver a message as such. I don’t have a clear idea in advance. The images come like daydreams, usually in the early morning. They are confusing. Intense. Only when I experience a feeling of urgency do I make the artwork. And the image holds me hostage. Continues to ask me the question ‘When are you going to make me?’ Until I have made it!

Usually, I know very quickly how I must make it. Which technique I must use. Which camera, standard or high-speed? Or two high-speed cameras for a 3D spatial effect? Then I have to do some investigation. At what depth should you let a human figure slowly disappear into the blackness? How far out of the screen can a baby come to float in space as a living sculpture? You have to be very precise. If you don’t get it right, people become dizzy and nauseous when they look at the 3D video.

3. How much does religion influence your work?
To be honest, I don’t know exactly. I know that the suffering and death of human beings have a big influence on my work. For me there is something holy about having an eye for the suffering of your fellow man, about letting them speak to you. I see traces of this in Bible stories such as the good Samaritan in St Luke’s Gospel. But also, in how the life of Jesus shows that concern for others – the sick, the imprisoned, the widow, the orphan – is the true expression of religion.

Because my images for a work of art often come along like a thief in the night, there is never a religious concept before I begin. What does happen is that I very quickly know what the title must be. Some of the inspiration for Traveling of the Heart came from the story of Abraham and Sara’s travels. Ecce Homo is linked to the moment when the captive Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. The title Free Among the Dead comes directly from the psalm. Mary! is about the Annunciation and Triptych signifies an altarpiece. But still this always happens retrospectively and it’s always about far more than just the Bible story. And it also happens the other way round. There are people who see a link with the Bible story of Joseph in the well in Josephine’s Well, even though no man is visible in the video, nor can you see a well. It must be hidden somewhere…

4. When did you become internationally recognised?
I registered for the Unpainted digital art fair in Munich, without even having a gallery to represent me. There my work was celebrated as a ‘highlight of media art’. And then the ball started rolling. After Unpainted came the 3D Beyond Festival at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM), in Karlsruhe in Germany. And then the 3D Film and Music Festival in Barcelona, where I also received an award. Followed by the important LOOP video art event, also in Barcelona. First the LOOP Festival and then the LOOP Fair. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to show my work in China, the United States and Argentina.

And several years ago, I participated in the Amsterdam edition of Art Stations of the Cross, an international event initiated by Dr Aaron Rosen and the Rev Dr Catriona Laing. Dr Roosen subsequently invited me to exhibit in his gallery, The Parsonage, in Searsport, Maine. That’s the way it goes. People see your work and then you’re invited to exhibit somewhere else.

5. How would you describe the evolution of your art?

That’s a difficult one. My work ranges from interactive installations, to 2D and 3D videos and holographic installations. But that is not a conscious choice. As I already said, the images in the dreams determine which technique I use. The word ‘evolution’ suggests you go from A to Better, but that isn’t my experience. Nowadays I dare trust my intuition more than in the past, although whether things will actually work out in the end remains pretty nerve-wracking… What has changed for the better is that I am better able to put into words what I am making and how and why. All in all, it is a very intuitive process, but now I am aware that it is about a combination of vulnerability and the life force. That is something I felt from the very beginning, but now I am better able to put it into words, even though the search remains tricky. Words can easily push the work in a particular direction. In my opinion there is always a ‘hole’ in art. Something that you cannot understand.

6. What is your best artwork up to now?

For me it’s always a strange sensation if I walk quietly through the space after an exhibition has just been set up and there are no people there. I look at and listen to the works of art. And then suddenly I feel unsettled. Something touches the essence of the mystery of existence. And it’s the same with all my works. I really can’t answer your question. I just can’t single one out. It doesn’t matter whether I look at Mary!, or activate the dancers in Traveling of the Heart with someone else via our heartbeat, or stand in front of Embrace Me – somehow this always happens to me. I’m afraid I can’t give you an answer.
7. Your book is very graphic and attractive to the eye. How did you get the idea for of the folding pages?

Thank you for the compliment! I’m really pleased with it myself. There’s a great story behind the design. I actually approached Frederik de Wal, one of the best graphic designers in the Netherlands. Luckily, I know his brother, Joost de Wal. We spent hours talking together and having lunch. He said: ‘I want to get a measure of the soul of Arent Weevers, both as an artist and as a theologian’. At a certain moment we were talking about my work as curator of the exhibition Moving Images. Inspired Video Art at the Lebuinus Church in Deventer and how I created the exhibition. I said: ‘It’s the same as designing an English garden. As you walk round, you’re continually discovering something else behind a hedge. Walking further and always discovering something new is what setting up an exhibition is all about. First you go to the side aisle of the church where there is a video artwork on a pillar or in a black box, then you go up the stairs to the chancel, then down the stairs to the crypt. Then up again to the left side aisle. ‘Oh’, said Fredrik, ‘Then I know how we must put the book together. You must be able to fold out the pages. That’s how to give the reader a real work of art. A surprise every time’. What a great idea! I complimented him on his inspiration, but he said: ‘It’s really your idea’.

8. Did you encounter any difficulties in the publishing process?

Money. Money is always a problem. For me the book had to look attractive. High quality paper, good-sized photos, throughout the book and on the fold-out pages. And that costs a lot of money. Lecturis publishers wanted to publish the book, but because of my demands the production costs were too high. I started a crowdfunding campaign to finance the extra production costs. Fortunately, it all worked out.

9. Any future projects you can talk about?

Sorry, but I never talk about ongoing art projects. Not even with Marion, my wife. I do, however, have a couple of exhibitions in the pipeline. One is a tour of various harbour cities in the Netherlands and Germany with the holographic work Ecce Homo. And an exhibition in Elburg museum has been confirmed. A beautiful and special place with a rich tradition. In the past it was a monastery and I am going to show my work Triptych in the chapel. This work was made to be shown in religious buildings. I’m also talking to the Westerkerk in Amsterdam, near the Anne Frank House, about the possibilities there. And I’m in contact with the director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary and am investigating possibilities for exhibiting in Washington D.C. and the United States.

10. Will you be taking part in the LOOP festival in Barcelona again?
Yes, this year in November. It’s the place to be for my artwork in Europe, and people will be coming from all over. I hope we will see each other there!

For more information about Arent Weevers please check www.arentweevers.com

You can find more information about this article´s author @www.neusflores.com

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