press release


The third edition of Prospect Park, the biannual presentation of recent acquisitions from artists from the Netherlands and the Euregion, is devoted completely to the installation 24 Hours I, 2005, by Fransje Killaars (1959 Maastricht). Killaars, who was born and bred in Maastricht, has made a name for herself in the Netherlands and elsewhere for her extreme makeovers of interiors. Aided by brightly coloured rugs, wall hangings and bedspreads made in India, Killaars gives a warm, sensual and strokeable look to museum white cubes and even to stark office spaces. As she grew up with a mother who is a textile artist and a father who is the sculptor Piet Killaars, you could say it is a case of 'like parents, like daughter'.

Nevertheless, Killaars started her career as a painter. During her studies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, however, she soon developed a very ambivalent attitude to this classical medium. She enjoyed painting, preferring bright, fluorescent colours, but she found the two-dimensional, flat canvas too limiting. She was frustrated by the restrictions of colour, the lack of tactility and physical presence, and especially the absence of reality, as it were. Two influential experiences put her on the track of her current practice.

In 1984, the year that Killaars graduated, she was asked to cooperate on a retrospective of the American artist Sol LeWitt in the Stedelijk Museum, in Amsterdam. Her experience as an assistant to this influential conceptual artist and the collective execution of his large-scale, colourful wall paintings formed the first important link to her later view on art. In this view, colour is freed from the straitjacket of the flat surface and individual style is replaced by a craftsman-like and cooperative work process. After this, there was a study trip to India, which convinced Killaars for certain that her expressive means should be closely connected to life itself. 'With hindsight, India set me on course more strongly than any other artistic experience', said Killaars.

Back in the Netherlands, Killaars was asked in 1995 to participate in the exhibition De koffer van de celibatair in the station of Maastricht. She had a large hall at her disposal, which she filled completely with carpets. People could walk over them in special slippers, sit down and stay for a while, and thus become an inconspicuous part of the colourful and warm installation. Since then, activating a space with colours and textiles and transforming it in such a way that visitors relax and become receptive to their surroundings again, has been a constant in Killaars' work.

A relatively recent development from Killaars arose from her fascination for the sari, the traditional wrap that is inextricably bound up with Indian culture. In 24 Hours I, however, the vertically draped cloth inadvertently conjures up associations with another, nowadays heavily loaded cultural phenomenon; the burka. In this way, Killaars places her work in the political spotlight, without choosing a party, in a discussion that unfortunately has few distinctions. It appears no more than a logical step for someone who emancipated textile art from its dusty 'household' image and who has been mixing Western and Eastern influences and emphasising the social character of colours and textiles in her installations for over ten years already.

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Prospect Park III
Fransje Killaars