As part of the exhibition Becoming Ovartaci, the Cobra Museum presents artworks by Priscilla Koopman (Enschede, 1996) and Mathisse Arendsen (Goes, 1948-2022), in collaboration with Beeldend Gesproken. This Amsterdam-based art gallery represents professional artists who struggle with mental health issues.
Selected for this exhibition are artists whose work resonates with Ovartaci’s art. Arendsen’s life experiences are related to Ovartaci’s life, while Koopman’s work deals with similar themes. Both show how they experience the world from a neurodiverse perspective.
The works of these artists show the universal theme of transformation. Art can serve as a release from mental and physical limitations and offers the opportunity to reshape who you are as a human being.
Priscilla Koopman (Enschede, 1996)
In Priscilla Koopman’s paintings and drawings, she displays her unique universe populated by ethereal beings. Each creation has its own personality and symbolism. After her autism diagnosis, she focuses on re-learning to understand herself and navigate the world as a neurodiverse artist.
”I have found my way to express femininity, mental health and perception of the world in a colorful playful way. Connecting with the innocence of childhood and mixing it with the grotesqueness of reality and morbid elements is essential in my work. This is how I show the beauty of every situation.”
Koopman graduated cum laude in 2018 from the Fine Arts Department at Centennial College in Toronto Canada. In 2014, she wins third prize in the Kunstbende competition and in 2019, she participates in the Amsterdam International Art Fair with an honorable mention.
Mathisse Arendsen (Goes, 1948-2022)
Born a man, Mathisse Arendsen developed a female alter ego at an early age. The girl Ana ‘is lived her entire life with and in him. Arendsen experienced his feminine side on canvas but also in everyday life in which he often dressed as a woman. This duality is reflected in the many paintings Arendsen made throughout his life.
“Regarding my most recent style, as a dualist I use the following basic principle in my technique and themes: the whole is not the sum of its parts, but a juxtaposition of extremes in form and use of color. This produces a field of tension within which the viewer is handed the key to the subconscious.”
The art of Arendsen features a variation of styles in which religion and esoteric forces always play an important role. His various admissions to psychiatric clinics are a central theme in his oeuvre, which in addition to paintings includes poems, short stories and psychological novels.
A solo exhibition of Mathisse Arendsen’s work is on view at
Beeldend Gesproken from 5 to 30 April: beeldendgesproken.nl