The boy dreams of Arjen Boerstra

Frank van der Ploeg
Published in magazine Ons Erfdeel and the book Arjen Boerstra – Propositions

The earth reduced to its essence: a sphere of water and land. Around it blue sky with some white clouds. But it is not a recording from the edge of the atmosphere, where everything is in proportion – read: very small. Because here, in the middle of the image a huge rowing boat floats with a paddling man in it. The camera moves due to its activity. That camera is attached to a long wooden bar that rises high above the boat and is not directed downwards – as would be the case with a kite or a drone – but rather upwards to a mirror ball. This sphere reflects the image that slides beneath it. The globe image appears to be a ditch, the paddler is artist Arjen Boerstra (Heerenveen, 1967). The image above is the subjective representation in words of the video Matsloot (2013).
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About the arrival in the work of Arjen Boerstra

Margo Slomp
Published in the book Arjen Boerstra: Observations and Events

Is there any greater romantic cliché than the image of the lonely sailor who stands out to sea in a far too small boat? Is this the symbol of the urge for freedom and adventure and, consequently, the risk of danger; in short: of the sublime experience? Not everyone is cursed with this romantic impulse, but it has great attraction for those who wish to distinguish themselves from the ‘well-cared for, wine drinking bourgeois tormented by little trouble’ as the anonymous poet of The Seafarer from the mediaeval Exeter Book described the relationship between citizens and adventurers.  The message expressed here is that the latter denies any comfort, is trying to break free from fixed boxes and expectations and instead tries to find happiness in the great unknown.
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Rients Kooistra
Published in the book Arjen Boerstra: Observations and Events

I was introduced to Arjen Boerstra’s work over ten years ago, when he was a nominee for the Sybren Hellinga art award in Beetsterzwaag; an incentive prize for young artists. Arjen showed a video made of aerial photographs of the landscape around the village of Tijnje and I was immediately impressed. I just had to return again and again to his projection room with these alienating film images. An artist that ‘painted’ a landscape using a video camera from a kite; I found it surprising, innovative and confusing, all at the same time. It struck me later that this work already included the stratification that would prove to be typical for his later work.
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Dirk van Ginkel
Published in the book Arjen Boerstra – Popositions

You can hardly see any work by Arjen Boerstra without seeing him in person too. He is an inseparable part of his own creations. As he himself says: ‘It’s a kind of primal feeling. I made that work of art, after that we belong together, don’t we?’ A conversation about the connection between art and life.

On the top floor of his studio in Groningen are a few attributes that Arjen Boerstra will use in the late summer of 2021 for his project Room. A bed, a table, a kitchenette, a compost toilet, all made of wood and made by himself. The Room itself is a wooden house on which Boerstra has attached the chimney at an angle, in the way that small children draw such a thing. It is Boerstra’s intention to stay in his room for a week during the Kunst aan de Vaart Buiten manifestation in Assen. Secluded, high above the canal in the center of the city, hanging from a crane.
Like all his projects, this work is dominated by a quest. In this case: ‘What happens when you live really secluded from the world, what do you discover about yourself? Who are you, what are you? I am very curious about that. I will report by filming myself and sharing everything on YouTube.‘
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