about Christina de Vos

part two of two

Christina de Vos hoards images like they're going out of business. She rips up art books and sleazy gossip magazines alike, and even took up watching television with her camera ready. So that nothing goes to waste, she scavenges abandoned paintings and drawings for usable fragments, storing them in grisly bins of assorted body parts, ready to be used as building blocks for a Frankenstein-esque 'supermodel'.

In the nineties, portraits of divas took to the stage, introducing humor, exuberance, and the audacity of color. Christina's admiration for these fellow-ish artists is palpable, but she is also visibly aware of their naked selfs underneath all those fancy dresses. This ambiguity was further explored in a series of famous last words, as being either the last performance of a celebrity, or the final utterings of a mere mortal. Quite the opposite was examined in her series of girl portraits, that showed the entirely sincere pretence of play-acting.

divas: large Georgette Dee, 1998
famous last words: Dutch Schultz, 1997
de hondsdagen: Saint Christopher, 2001
girls: am I not?, 1999

A veritable menagerie of canine and avian devils was introduced in the series de hondsdagen (the dog days). Harking back to her bleak academy and Grünewald drawings, she expertly mirrored, with hardly any literal quotes, the cruel world of Hieronymus Bosch, as well as the multitude of curious hybrids that populate his paintings.

Between 2005 and 2010, Christina worked on a gargantuan series, based on a character in a very dense novel by Jeroen Brouwers. Inspired by the claustrophobic imagery of the author, and encouraged by him to give it all she has got, she created the story of Aurora. It is a multi-layered and emotionally charged tale of memory and loss, but softened by a singular iconography that adds levity to an otherwise ponderous subject matter. The increasing use of collage, both in preliminary studies and finished paintings, added depth in a literal sense.


Aurora: the eye, 2009

As the Aurora series has been exhibited in instalments and many of the works have been sold, not to mention scavenged and painted over, it only saw the light of day in a piecemeal fashion. This deficiency has been partially overcome with the publication of an eponymous art book that offers a selection of paintings, drawings, montages, and a sense of the series as a whole.

The dreaded void after finishing such a demanding series, reminiscent of the vacuum following her graduation, combined with enervating changes in her life, prompted Christina to make a series of patron saints (including a beatified Aurora), called perpetual fear.

back to part one

perpetual fear: the dogs (Saint Aurora), 2018