Helen Verhoeven Born in 1974 in Leiden, Netherlands | Lives and works in Den Haag and Berlin

Helen Verhoevendepicts interior scenes that layer people and art historical references in large format paintings. A group of young girls stand well-behaved in a line—like Gerhard Richter’s nurses; next to them an erotic scene is being played out that could have originated with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The characters and groups depicted seem to be stage props or staffage figures assembled from painterly precursors, who exhibit neither emotional nor family ties to one another.

A sinister character fully in keeping with Freud emanates from this contentual void. Normal domestic and familiar things appear here alienated and bizarre. This impression is intensified by other different aspects in Verhoeven’s pictures. Perspectives are shifted; little figures stand in the foreground, large figures in the background; seemingly human people are combined with oversized, naked dolls; empty areas and gaps in the picture make the viewer aware of the artificiality of the layout. The theatrics and surreality of Verhoeven’s painting is reminiscent of James Ensor, who specialized in carnival scenes and often depicted people in masses. Unlike Ensor, Verhoeven also extracts individual figures from her group pictures and paints then once again, examining them in small-format paintings and sculptures. These individual portraits are installed together with the sculptures in separate rooms and hung in a manner similar to the galleries of ancestral portraits in Saint Petersburg Hermitage Museum.


2010 Wolvecamp Prize
2008 Royal Painting Prize

Solo exhibitions (selection)

2012 Wallspace, New York
SCHUNCK, Heerlen
2010 Diana Stigter, Amsterdam
2008 Mesler & Hug, Los Angeles
2007 Fons Welters, Amsterdam

Group exhibitions (selection)

2012 Objects of Dismissal, AUTOCENTER, Berlin
Young Painting, Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht
2011 Bellevue, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
2010 In.flec.tion, HVCCA, New York
2008 Royal Painting Prize, GEM Museum, Den Haag
2007 Recent Acquisitions, Essl Museum, Wien

Bibliography (selection)

2012 Maxine Kopsa, „Heksenjacht”, in: Metropolis M, Februar
2011 Emily King, „Dinner at the Hilfigers”, in: Fantastic Man, FrĂĽhling
2008 Karen Rosenberg, „Helen Verhoeven” in: Art in Review, New York Times, 31. Oktober
Roberta Smith, „Pruesspress@Rental,” in: Art in Review, The New York Times, 27. Juni
2007 William Booth, „Big Walls to Fill,” in: The Washington Post, 10. Dezemeber
2005 Joao Ribas u.a., „The ArtReview 25: Emerging US Artists,” in: Art Review, April