Rachel Koolen

Researcher Fine Art

01.01.07 – 31.12.08           

From my present position as researcher at the Jan van Eyck, I came to gain an interest in the Dutch welfare system. Hence, I am currently doing a detailed exploration of the fascination for the environment, constructed around the control and administration of social securities. This theme, associated with the marginal, enables me to relate to a number of artistic strategies. The crux of the matter is that most artistic projects do not wish to be associated with the control regime they are criticizing. Yet, any form of reproduction, representation and simulation – which is inherent in artistic practice – contrasts with the invisible, uncontrollable nature of marginal places or groups not willing to fit in any given framework. The same paradox of visibility occurs in the rise of ‘Centres for Work and Income’ in the Netherlands. These so-called ‘Werkpleinen’ (‘job squares’) are the manifestations of a larger governmental project, which integrates welfare and recruitment agencies and offers guidance to create opportunities in the job market. The design is largely derived from corporate business culture, as in the drive to gear transparency and publicity towards client or public orientation. Nevertheless, the social security recipient, the pivot of this policy, submits to intervening counselling, implicating a withdrawal from his active role in society, which amounts to social invisibility. When I take photos I activate the environment by constructing it. However, the moment the shutter is released, the equipment takes over. Via this temporal withdrawal, the critical status of the artist is brought into question. I employ the consciously chosen, yet insuperable vantage-point of the outsider, as an objective to set against, to challenge my artistic vocabulary and production.


Rotterdam, NL.

2003 – 2005

BA Fine Arts. AKI, Enschede, NL.

2001 – 2002

Digital design course. Danmarks Designskole, Copenhagen, DK.

September – December 2000

A variety of workshops dealing with object orientated programming. Danmarks Designskole, Copenhagen, DK.

1997 – 2001

Graphic design course. Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague, NL.

Professional activities

Research into an archiving system. Supervised by Netochka Nezvanova. Steim Institute, Amsterdam, NL.

2001 – 2002

Development of a prototype. The Museum of One Object. A proposal for a virtual museum. Kunstindustrie Museet (KIM), Copenhagen, DK.



World@rt: exploring interactive expressions. (2 – 8 October). With Maurice Benayoun. Aalborg, DK: Aalborg University.



(Untitled). In: Opening week 2007. (8 – 12 January). Organized by Jan van Eyck Academie. ’s-Hertogen-bosch, NL: Verkadefabriek.



Material gathering. The unobstructed view. (2 July). With Jacqueline Schoemaker. Maastricht, NL: Jan van Eyck Academie.


Minor philosophy. (25 August – 31 December). With H.J. Achterhuis. Enschede, NL: University of Twente (UT).


The public domain. Copenhagen, DK: Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole.
Concept development in digital art. (2 – 3 October). Aalborg, DK: Aalborg University.

Solo exhibitions

Welfare on the move. In: Fahrt. (28 November 2007 – 7 January 2008). Maastricht, NL: Jan van Eyck Academie.


De ruimte tussenin. Foto- en videosequenties. (12 March – 2 April). Utrecht, NL: Moira.

Group exhibitions

(Untitled). In: Destillaat 8. (2 – 4 December). Nijmegen, NL: Extrapool.
(Untitled). In: Aanzet 2005. (12 November – 7 December). Diepenheim, NL: Kunstvereniging Diepenheim.
Overzichtstentoonstelling Eindexamens AKI 2005. (25 June – 3 July). Enschede, NL: AKI.
(Untitled). In: Kunstsommer 2005. (19 June – 24 July). Oberhausen, DE: Kunstverein Oberhausen.


(Untitled). Enschede, NL: Concordia.
O sole mio. (24 – 25 January). Rheine, DE: Kloster Bentlage.