Statement | Dutch video introduction

Portret by Zeus Hoenderop | Dutch spoken

Hans Overvliet | distant suffering
W.F.T. van Houtum

Since 2013, by means of the ongoing art-series distant suffering, the Dutch artist Hans Overvliet investigates the role of the media in their representation of (military) violence. This, in the context of themes as perception, memory and identity formation.

Overvliet uses a various range of media, symbols and codes, bringing together dichotomies like beauty and violence, refinement and brutality, the sublime and the vulgar.

As a reporter, Overvliet was an eyewitness to the events in the Middle East during the 1980s. Of course these experiences resonate in distant suffering. So, aspects of power, politics, exclusion, censorship and the connection between artist, artwork and viewer infiltrate his multifaceted conceptual oeuvre.

Martha Jager, curator Vleeshal in Middelburg about the oeuvre: The dedication to art as a relational verb is central to Overvliet’s work. On the one hand, the balance between poetry and criticism is special, so that the work never becomes bitter or pedantic, while at the same time the dialogue with the viewer is actively maintained. It is a tender form of activism that moves and urges action and also continuously questions the role of art.

Elements of distant suffering were exhibited in the Netherlands, Belgium, Pakistan, England, Italy, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lebanon, Germany, France, the U.S.A and Sweden.

In 2023, his whole body of paper collages ( 1999 – 2012 ) joined Geert Verbeke’s renowned collection of collages and assemblages.

Hans Overvliet was born in Leiden in 1952; he lives in Middelburg and works in Vlissingen, both in the province of Zeeland in the South-West of the Netherlands.
Next to his art-work he is, together with his wife Willy van Houtum, the founder and every day guardian of the 27-year old space for contemporary art: ruimteCAESUUR.

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