Artist: Dirkje Kuik, Philipp Gufler
Venue: Centraal Museum, Utrecht
Exhibition Title: Other Histories Told by Dirkje Kuik and Philipp Gufler
Date: January 18 – June 7, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Centraal Museum, Utrecht
In a compact new duo-exhibition, Centraal Museum Utrecht presents a selection of works by Dirkje Kuik and Philipp Gufler. Other Histories Told by Dirkje Kuik and Philipp Gufler shows a wide range of drawings, etchings, lithographs and paintings by Dirkje Kuik, often featuring the city of Utrecht. Centraal Museum further commissioned the artist Philipp Gufler (Augsburg, 1989) to create a Quilt – a screen-printed cloth – depicting the life of Dirkje Kuik. The Quilt forms part of a series in which Gufler pays tribute to artists, writers, a LHBTQI+ magazine and no longer existing queer hangouts. These Quilts, too, will be on display in the exhibition. Other Histories Told By Dirkje Kuik and Philipp Gufler opens 18 January, as part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of COC Midden-Nederland, the LHBTQI+ advocacy group.
Dirkje Kuik (Utrecht, 1929-2008), born as William Diederich Kuik, underwent surgery in 1981 to become the woman she had always been. In her self-portraits, Kuik depicts herself in various ways; for example as a hedgehog with its spines raised, as hidden behind a death mask, or – in earlier works – as a man. She described her experiences in the Huishoudboekje met rozijnen (1984; Household book with raisins), using the term ‘gender diaspora’ to describe her gender. She preferred this term over ‘transgender’ as a way of emphasising her original female nature, rather than the transition. The presentation explores Kuik’s relationship to Utrecht, her varied self-portraits, and her fascination for decay and ruins.
Kuik’s work is juxtaposed with Quilts made by artist Philipp Gufler. In this series of works, Gufler depicts artists, writers, a LHBTQI+ magazine and once-upon-a-time queer hangouts. Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Wies Smals and the magazine Die Freundin are among the themes and persons featured. This way, Gufler pays tribute to this alternative history, presented in the different layers of his Quilts. The themes explored are closely related to Gufler’s personal life and artistic practice.
On Thursday 6 February, Philipp Gufler will visit Centraal Museum. He will be talking to Bart Rutten as part of the presentation of his new book Quilt #01-#30, published by Hammann Von Mier Verlag, Munich. PANN, the young people’s LHBTQI+ organisation in Utrecht, will organise an evening programme to mark the event.
This exhibition is organised jointly with a special partner: the LHBTQI+ organisation COC Midden-Nederland, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2020. This jubilee will be celebrated at Centraal Museum in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition on 18 January 2020. As a co-sponsor of the exhibition, COC will actively promote the exhibition as part of its programme.
Dirkje Kuik lived and worked in Utrecht her entire life. Kuik’s work is suffused with a longing for the past. The city of Utrecht underwent rapid modernisation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but Kuik preferred to see an old city, and created this in her own work. She liked to live in this romantic, decaying city – and not in a city half razed to enable modernisation. Kuik was well-read and an award-winning writer of novels and essays, for instance winning the Multatuli prize. In 1960 she joined J.H. Moesman (1909-1988) and Henc van Maarseveen (1926-2012) in establishing the graphic society De Luis. Dirkje Kuik was a pivotal figure in the Utrecht art world.