Simone Boon is a Dutch artist who finds effortless accord with the fundamentals of art. Her mastery of line, form, space, value and colour is expressed in her most recent exhibition of figurative and abstract photography. Elusive Phenomenology is imbued with Simone’s comprehensively perceptive articulation of patterns of movement and their intrinsic link to the passage of time.
Born in Indonesia and raised amongst a melting-pot of influences from Borneo, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Belgium, Malaysia, Austria and Hong Kong, Simone’s life has been defined by its nomadic quality. Her affinity for observing and documenting the overt and covert nuances of cultures, religion, race and creed has culminated in art of an ambitious complexity tempered by pure aesthetic beauty. Experiencing her photographs is a dive through a surface of orchestrated composition and spectral colours, continuing on through myriad planes where time, space and place begin to coalesce finally shrugging off preconceived linear definitions to instead, exist in a state of elegant flux.
Elusive Phenomenology explores this transitory essence. The in-between moments that unify the before and after. For Simone, this quality is particularly resonant in the years a young woman stands on the precipice of young adulthood. Her work amplifies and attempts to bring clarity to the visual qualities that shroud a woman at various times of their life. Though photography is used to document and give visual presence, Simone’s abstract artworks are derived from a highly produced process of technical and dramatic aptitude.
Models are cloaked, veiled and draped in layers of fabric of different weights and opacity that act as pulse points connecting moments which map shapes and seem to suspend time. Tendrils of movement are captured by photographing with slow shutter speeds, the smallest aperture, and low natural light. The movements of the body are rendered in a single image that resurrects and reveres the phenomenological weight of each transition with forms, often not visible to the naked eye. Elusive Phenomenology is a powerful and ephemeral study of female identity that transcends cultures and heralds the mysteries embedded within the evolution of the feminine psyche. One that is infinitely complex, profoundly elusive, yet entirely beguiling.
IN CONVERSATION WITH SIMONE BOON
Art - particularly my experimental approach to photography, the levels of creativity here completely consume me; I love the lengthy and detailed process of planning, styling and shooting new work.
Modern Ballet - particularly Jiri Kylian and Pina Bausch. Modern expressionist dance and post-modern ballet has always fascinated me and inspires my work. So many aspects come together in a ballet, music, movement, choreography, stage design and costume design. In fact, my photo shoots are fairly similar to a ballet of sorts.
Music - I will never forget watching Don Giovanni in a contemporary setting in Salzburg, Austria. I love the classics of Bach, Rachmaninoff and Philip Glass as much as I love Sting! I have grown to like the digital melodic rhythmic techno and digital music in general (after driving my youngest son around Hong Kong with his music on…) Music offers an experience beyond what visual art generally offers, if, you close your eyes the experience lingers… I want to create this experience with my work.
Exercise - Jazz Ballet, Tennis, Walking and Cycling! I fortunately live near the natural reserve of the ‘Kalmthoutse Heide’ near Antwerp, so the opportunities for exercise are very good.
Philosophy - existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard, Sartre, Nietzsche’s poetical writing.
My work is complex..
As it is a combination of sculpture, theatre and photography. From an initial concept I design the stage and the fabric wrap for the models using an extensive collection of fabric, ribbon, props and shapes that will bind with movement to create the photographic image I envisage. The backdrop, lighting, color palette, timing of a breeze or smoke is all part of the theatre performance I create before I can take a photograph. From behind the camera, I then direct the movement and placing of the model and the direction of the lighting, this involves great synergy between me, the model and my assistant.
The value of art..
Nothing exists without being created, and creativity enriches life. ‘Art’ is diverse and critical, it communicates emotion. It’s most rewarding to me if someone is touched by my work, that it carries meaning to someone. Art helps us understand other cultures and ourselves in past and present times – it’s value is underrated.
Places I love..
I’ve fortunately lived in many exciting places, most notably, Vienna, Penang, Venezuela, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. I lived and worked here as an artist for 14 years in Hong Kong, the constant pulse in this densely populated city was beautifully balanced with nature and the sea. My art studio was in Fotan, a heavily industrial and creative area, I worked amongst a wild mixture of businesses and trades all operating in the heat of the subtropics; a simple abattoir for slaughtering pigs was next door to a storage for bed mattresses and in this bizarre mix we always found time and space to have a coffee with other artists. Amsterdam’s canals and canal houses and cycling across the many ancient bridges. My studio here is in the NDSM, a former Dutch Ships Yard Company, which has been designed to house artist studios, so the art scene has a similar dynamic to that in Hong Kong. Venezuela, the sunshine and palm trees at lake Maracaibo and the colorful handcrafted pumpkins on the sandals of Native Americans – it’s funny what you remember! The oldest jungle of the world, Taman Negara, in Malaysia, when we lived in Penang. The sounds of the jungle in the night were so amazing and incomprehensible. Moving on flat boats over shallow black glittering water, in the jungle, with a guide to see an abandoned Orang Asli village.I hope..For freedom of movement around the world.Mutual respect - governments who govern with wisdom and fairness.
My ability and passion for photography and sculpture never ends.
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Simone Boon: Elusive Phenomenology