Barbara van den Berg (The Netherlands, 1978) is an insanely talented artist. Did you think the Dutch could only paint flowers and cows? Well, you will have to reconsider after seeing her work. Look closer: some of her collages are the mix of up to 40 different characters. Who would have thought a patchwork of people could be that beautiful? She sure did. Is she a visionary? Is she a magician? Go back a few lines: insanely talented, it’s as simple as that.
Barbara is an eclectic artist, working with very different media and experimenting in diverse expressive languages. She studied Visual Communication in Den Bosch, and in 2003 she graduated at the School of Art and Design in the same city as an illustrative designer. After her studies she founded Studio BEET with Charlotte Bruijn, an agency for graphic design, concept and illustration. Together they worked for Uitgeverij Malmberg, Ronald Giphart, Candy Dulfer, ABN AMRO Foundation and many more. After leaving Studio BEET, Barbara began her independent career as an artist, designer and illustrator. She alternates large format paintings to graphic design, drawing, hand lettering and digital collage. Her aesthetic approach is constantly evolving, changing in tone from humorous to dark, from powerful chromatic compositions to very stylised black and white drawings and illustrations.
In this collection Barbara has experimented with something entirely new, creating a series of imaginary characters from the combination of infinitesimal details of previously produced photographs. Childhood, a leitmotif in her body of work, is here paradoxically represented in its “natural” perfection through the artificial patchwork of body parts, costumes from different cultures and ages. Barbara successfully created silent and iconic characters projected towards the audience, directly questioning the viewer. In these digital collages gestures become enigmatic: the child’s innocence is dramatically placed in contradiction with adult expressions and emotions. In the same and yet opposite figurative “twist”, older characters are transformed by the artist, “misplaced” in a slapstick and irreverent context.
The result is The Awesome according to Barbara van den Berg: a visionary series in which she conceived and designed a pantheon of modern mythical creatures. A bizarre world in which children claim adulthood and elderlies long for their inner child, a playground where the “seriousness of the game” reigns supreme.