Julie Verhoeven: Gluteus Maximus

The London-based artist and illustrator tells Dazed about the first of her two-part exhibition in Amsterdam, exploring the contemporary female experience

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This September, artist and illustrator Julie Verhoeven, welcomes you to her surreal household, a new solo exhibition, in two parts, named ‘Gluteus Maximus’. The exhibition raises questions of the trepidations of modern womanhood and the complexity of the metalanguage of femininity. In an exclusive interview with us,  Verhoeven talks about her new exhibition and the troublesome life of a female artist.

Dazed Digital: What is the main idea of your exhibition?
Julie Verhoeven:
 My process is very organic and guttural. I don't have any great concept; I am just lead by my taste, lust for colour, cloth and ever increasing interest in all things female and gender. I am a closet feminist at heart and this angry head is beginning to infiltrate through the work. In a way it is a vain attempt to produce works of desire, which satisfy and pacify my on-going aesthetic anxieties in a positive way.

DD: Why did you decide to divide the exhibition into two parts?
Julie Verhoeven: It satisfies a greedy trait in my character. I don’t think it’s a very gracious feminine exercise to hog two show slots in a gallery and this adds fuel to my gender fire. It’s a kind of gender divided. First part, 'Domestic Hiss' is dry and masculine in appearance, museum like in presentation and attitude. It is quite macho and humourless, a masochistic exercise in self-exposure by presenting my research matter for scrutiny in a austere environment. I am taking a gentle poke at this very ‘male-pseudo-intellectual-artist’ type presentation. Second part, ‘Gluteus Maximus’, is the frivolous and damaged, female bastard offspring of part one. An emotional release of junk and tat assembled in a warm environment with a sense of distorted allure.

DD: Why did you choose the Gluteus Maximus muscle as name of the second part of the exhibition?
Julie Verhoeven: It is one of the few things, not surprisingly, I remember from my biology lessons. It is always a pleasure to draw those contours, and multiple fine lines. I thought the Latin would give a certain air of intellect to my practise! On an adolescent level it still makes me chuckle. It is just so lush and inviting on paper as well as flesh!

DD: Why did you choose the domestic objects to represent the sexes friction?
Julie Verhoeven: I just love form and function of the everyday. It’s timeless in a sense of design classics, such as the ironing board/ or a modest toilet roll for example. I have had fun with obvious gender divisions. The trouser press being the alpha male on the installation and the snooker top ironing board being an object with confused gender complexities

DD: How do you show gender of an object visually?
Julie Verhoeven: A kind of 'cup of tea?' environment with a fiendish undercurrent. I am playing with a false sense of comfort and security. I take the female powers of allure and attraction, and render it with a very brutish, clumsy, and unfeminine hand. 

DD: For the opening of the second part of the exhibition you are planning to have girls in waiting, unable to move. Will they also be the objects of this surreal household?
Julie Verhoeven: The art world remains overrun with male artists and their inflated egos. On the whole, the female artist remains still and silent in this weird subservient role like a lady in waiting; waiting to be heard and recognised as relevant. I like the idea that females can perform as an object of lust and desire when necessary. My static maids are dressed in such a way to confuse... obediently on their way to the office but then had second thoughts and took a turn into a video set for Olivia Newton John’s (Neutron Bomb!)  Lets Get Physical' music video. They are ready to get down and dirty.

‘Gluteus Maximus’ exhibition in two part at ZINGERpresent gallery, Amsterdam. Domestic Hiss 10th September - 1st October; ‘Gluteus Maximus’ 8th October - 5th November.

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