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Work / Art

Tenant of Culture uses football jerseys to rethink archiving

Artist Hendrickje Schimmel is better known under his moniker Tenant of Culture. Originally from the Netherlands, Hendrickje now lives and works in London. A 2016 graduate of the RCA, where he gained a masters in Mixed Media, last year also saw multiple shows by Tenant of Culture, most notably his inclusion in breaking artists showcase Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA.

Working with wearable garments, from shoes and t-shirts to footballs, Tenant of Culture builds multi-layered textile installations which take an unconventional look at culture. Among the most striking of Hendrickje’s artworks are_Sportswear Paintings_ , a series of misleadingly-named 2D canvases which made up Tenant of Culture’s RCA graduate show.

“The sportswear paintings are part of the series A Just Game / How to Preserve a Happening which examines the process of documenting a ‘happening’, taking the sports game as the point of departure,” Tenant of Culture tells It’s Nice That. “The main research question is: how to represent and document something that is based on the principle of event-hood. Something that needs to be lived through or witnessed, something that exists by the virtue of ‘realtime’. What happens when such a thing needs to be archived? The first part of the title refers to the hierarchical selection process that is inherent to the act of archiving. Making use of the dichotomy of meaning of the word ‘just’: ‘just’ referring to morality, representing the ‘right’ and the ‘neutral’ but also ‘just a game’, addressing the fleeting and contingent entertainment of the sports game.”

“I used different kinds of materials to encapsulate and fixate garments that are typically used in sports,” Tenant of Culture explains of his process. “The jerseys were cut open and pressed in between a layer of cotton and transparent silk organza with a heath press. The result looks like a modernist painting because of the graphics often used in sportswear. The abstract and colourful shapes that imply movement and action. The ‘paintings’ look cheerful and optimistic but they also intend to address the problematic side of the politics of the institutional archive.”

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