Meador, Clifton: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie
The so-called Dutch golden age of the 17th century contained massive contradictions: a society that exported extensive, violent colonialism, and at the same time supported many creative practitioners, relative freedom of the press, and tolerance for some level of dissent. In this project I focused on using the collection of the Rijksmuseum to suggest this contradiction and to tell, only using objects from this collection, the story of the birth of the VOC and the resultant wealth of the Dutch Republic. My goal was to show how luxury goods, still lives, metal work, objet d’art, and weapons, were the product of an extractive colonialism.
My strategy was to color-separate the high resolution images from the Rijksmuseum and then recombine images of these objects, to create representations that do not represent anything —an illusion of richly crafted objects that deny their reality. The introductory section of the book presents the charter, some of the controversy surrounding the Dutch presence in the East Indies, and the resultant wealth this colonial project produced.
The final section of the book presents chimerical portraits—images of people from the 17th century recombined to make illusory people—overprinted with engraving from the 17th century that document some of the violence associated with the VOC.
en., dye sublimation print, hardcover, 96p, 14.6 x 6.1 inch, Ed. of 100, 2022
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