Cabinet of Kaput Exhibition at Galerie Mieke van Schaijk

Mieke van Schaijk: “I like independent artists with singular dedicated practices and inspiring playful imagination”

Mieke van Schaijk, wearing a sweater by Sarah Szczesny (Photo: Thomas Venker)

During the pandemic Sarah Szczesny  and Sabine Schiffer reflected about how to transfer the digital format of the kaput art section “Cabinet of Kaput” into a physical object – and created an edition of objects in the equivalent measures of 180 x 18 cm that appear like long and narrow columns, like cabinets or even stolas or scarfs. Those editions are right now for the first time ever shown at the Dutch Gallery Mieke van Schaijk in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Mieke van Schaijk was so kind to answer a few question about „Cabinet of Kaput“.


Dorota Jurczak, Wobbe Micha, Hollen, 2020 (Photo: Peter Cox)

Mike, since when does the gallery Mieke van Schaijk exist?
Mieke van Schaijk: I went to art school but decided not to pursue a career as an artist. Before I opened the gallery in 2016 I worked for six years as a coordinator for an artist-run initiatief called Artis Den Bosch, a very special place. I worked there with an international group of artists. The program of that time still reflects a bit in my program now; which is essentially driven by a specific way of working with artists.
Artis Den Bosch ceased to exist due to loss of financial support. A gallery, like an artist-driven space, is a context for artists, writers and curators … it was exciting and full of potential and so I was interested in staying part of this broader context and the sense of interconnectedness was definitely part of the motivation to start a gallery. I’m still motivated by the idea of independence and a long-term conversation.

You are based in the dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. As many of our readers  never been to the city, please describe it a bit for us and lay out the plus (and minus) aspects this brings along for your work.
’s-Hertogenbosch is a smiley, serene city in the heart of the Netherlands. It is a bit of a sleepy city, with the revolutionary youth theatre Artemis and the smallest academy in the Netherlands (named Akademie voor Kunst en Vormgeving St. Joost)  with a special lasting history (since 1811). We also have a design museum with an ambitious director. This city is not like every capital (means a city which attracts a concentration of interesting, also international free spirited people) – I miss connecting with these type here a bit … The good thing about running the gallery in the province is that it is easier to connect with other initiatives of artists working with various galleries. No competion is the minus and the plus at the same time.

Your gallery is based in a former mortuary. Just a side notice for you or do you feel that this has a deeper influence on the atmosphere in the room?
The Gallery is housed in ’t Blauwe Paviljoen (the Blue Pavilion) in the historic center of ’s-Hertogenbosch. It’s simple a beautiful space with great opportunities with it’s great proportions (10 x 5 meter high walls) – the dead bodies made place for a house full of new life. Richard Venlet designed the great “lightmachine” for the 6.80 high blue ceilinged small chapel.


Dennis Tyfus, Skins, Brains & Guts, 2020 (Photo: We Document Art)

Looking at the roster of impressive artists you work with (to name just a few: Dorota Jurczak, Dennis Tyfus, Kenichi Ogawa, Roy Villevoye, Alex Frost, Gino Saccone, Guillaume Bijl, Juan Pablo Plazas, Peter McDonald) it is noticeable that you cultivate an international biotop. How do you find your artists in general?
It varies, but in general, artists are a good pathway to other artists.

How did you experience the pandemic time so far? It must have for sure limited your travel possibilities and by that the chances to meet your international roster in person. How did this change your working processes with the artists?
I had barely started in October 2019 with an extensive exhibition by Guillaume Bijl in the new space when we were hit by the pandemic in March 2020. I improvised some nice exhibitions that year, but yes, I still felt the lack of control and the lack of a fluid flow.


Peter McDonald, Kenichi Ogawa, Weightless, 2020 (Photo: Peter Cox)

Are you able to say what you seek out in the art of the people you work with?
There is a lot to say about this. I prefer the works to be honest and humble determined. And that their works preferably be layered.  
The presence of an enchanting balance between a personal and specific imagery as well as a realm of thoughts and ideas is important to me, and a universal charisma and language (introverted versus extroverted characteristics) embodied within in the work. The presence of imperfection and defects in the artwork shows the courage of the artist to be connected with the world. 
I like independent artists with singular dedicated practices and inspiring playful imagination.
Media-independence is also of importance to me – with media I mean the palette of forms of expression like painting, sculpture, installation, performance or sound –, the quality of the artwork can never be determined or limited by the kind of media because these are completely subservient to the image created…

From the 10th of October till the 11th of November you’ll be presenting „Cabinet of Kaput“, a group show featuring artifacts which were produced based on what were originally digital works shown on Kaput. How did that connection happen?
Dorota Jurczak was working in the gallery on a duo show together with Wobbe Micha when she just finished her drawing for the “Cabinet of Kaput series”. It made me look deeper into your lively channel and experience the rich content of Kaput, where I discovered the great logo made by Sarah Szczesny…

As we are also heavily dedicated to music on kaput: what is current favorite song and why so?
Peter Licht, “Sonnendeck”  – just like you from Köln.


Galerie Mieke van Schaijk
Zuster van Trierstraat 8, 5211 ZT ’s-Hertogenbosch
10 October – 21 November 2021, opening hours: Friday-Saturday 13—18 hrs, Sunday from 13—17 hrs or by appointment.

Also read the interview with Sarah Szczesny and Sabine Schiffer about “Cabinet of Kaput”.


Dust: Roy Villevoye, Joke Robaard, Caroline Achaintr, 2021 (Photo: Hussel Zhu) 

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