Exhibition ABN AMRO Art Award winner Helen Verhoeven

Helen Verhoeven, Schamerkat, Hermitage Amsterdam, 2019

The exhibition Schamerkat by the artist Helen Verhoeven is on display from March 29 2019 to January 5 2020 in the Hermitage Amsterdam. Verhoeven (Leiden, 1974), won the eight edition of the ABN AMRO Art Award for talented artists in the Netherlands, and was given a year to develop the exhibition.

With her installation Schamerkat, Verhoeven responds to the exhibition De schatkamer!  (Treasury!), which includes highlights from the collections of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The emphasis in these grand collections lies within accumulations of beauty and creativity as articulated the world over and throughout time. Thus, Verhoeven was inspired to create her own very diverse 'micro' collection. But the play on words within her title, Schamerkat, also evokes other associations, bringing to mind the words schaamte (shame) and schemer (twilight) — the darker side of life.

Thus, she alludes to the other side of collecting — decadence and greed – but also to the flip sides of the universal themes explored in her work like power, womanhood, birth and interpersonal relationships, continually hovering between gravity and absurdity. Characteristic of Verhoeven’s work is the way in which she links biblical and mythological scenes with current issues and her personal subjective feelings and associations. For example, Verhoeven takes the act of the Greek fertility god Priopos weighing his penis to become a metaphor for the balance of power in relationships. An ancient statue of Heracles gives rise to a painting of prehistoric men dousing a fire by urinating on it. And complicated emotions surrounding sexuality and fertility lead to a surrealistic stop-motion film of a woman vomiting sausages. In Schamerkat, Verhoeven refuses to be limited by time and space. The works make up a gesamtkunstwerk that invites us to look on in awe, draw associations, and make connections

Art Price presentation in Circl.ART

Running concurrently with the exhibition at the Hermitage is a second exhibition of work by Helen Verhoeven, titled Eleven Women, on view at Circl.ART, the project space of the ABN AMRO art collection at the Zuidas. Here she explores the ever-changing image of woman. Eleven Women will be on display at Circl.ART through 23 May 2019. For more information, see Circle.ART

Click here for the full jury report

In selecting Helen Verhoeven, the jury of the 2018 ABN AMRO Art Award has chosen 'an artist who links repressed emotions and contemporary social dilemmas with classical, historical and art-historical iconography.' Working with a variety of techniques and materials, Verhoeven has a visual language which is entirely her own. As noted by the jury, by way of her mastery of the medium, she draws us into a fascinating and kaleidoscopic world.

Jury Members for the 2018 ABN AMRO Art Award were: Maria Barnas, poet and visual artist, Danila Cahen, Curator ABN AMRO art collection, Stijn Huijts, Artistic director Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Xander Karskens, Director De Ateliers and Silvia Zonneveld, Financial Advisor.

Helen Verhoeven

Helen Verhoeven (Leiden, 1974), studied at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco (1992 – 1996) and at the New York Academy of Art in New York (1998 - 2001). Hereafter she was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2005 – 2007). Verhoeven’s work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions including those at Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht (2018), Statements Art Basel in Basel (2018), Centraal Museum in Utrecht (2017), Manifesta Foundation in Amsterdam (2014), AUTOCENTER in Berlin (2013), the Saatchi Gallery in London (2013) and Wallspace in New York (2012). In 2017 Verhoeven collaborated with Mario Testino for Vogue. In 2015 she produced a commissioned work for the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. In 2010 she has received the Wolvecamp Award and the Royal Award for Modern Painting in 2008. Verhoeven lives and works in Berlin.


> Press release (Hermitage)

> Read more about Helen Verhoeven