Master of Fine Arts: Kim Engelen

Netherlands->to Spain->to USA->to Sweden->now living in Berlin/Germany
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Berlin/Germany, Week 15, 2014

Although I am interested in art, fashion, feminism, pacifism, music, dance or whatever. This does not mean that I am creating a scenery to show these examples of interests in. Also this project does not try to act out a certain (lack of) power, gender, sexiness or whatever. I truly try to be real and not fake anything. Ok I steer here and there. And I make up the frame to show “me” in. But that is about it. Maybe the thing is that I try to be “open”. And by doing this I have to be a little dishonest. I mean, I show expressions of people about me. Which most of them probably don’t know that I am doing that. I got feedback from a few who did know the project and they told me they were wary to tell me things in the future afraid that I would ” use” it for my project. This is of course a bummer. Because then the project thus starts to hamper my “real” communication, which is part of “me”. Which then is not so open anymore. But I can’t help myself I have to continue. I get too many remarks that I just (have to) show.


imageKim Engelen, [Self-Portraits], 22 Jan 2014, THE FIRST TIME THAT AN EX TENANT SEND ME A NUDE TORSO PICTURE OF HIMSELF VIA WHATAPP, Maasbracht/Netherlands

Berlin/Germany, Week 14, 2014

Ha I like it. It is like a little game. I get an exclamation about me. And then I show a photo of me that I made myself. Last week it was a direct reaction (a new made photograph) on a comment. This week I went through my “archive” of self made portraits of myself and choose a photograph that I saw fit.


imageKim Engelen, [Self-Portraits], 1 May 2012, SENSING BERLIN, Berlin/Germany

Berlin/Germany, Week 13, 2014

There are the verbal opinions or expressions by other people about me that I have collected (and that I am still collecting) that I find interesting to show in the series. Showing the verbal expressed views by others of me I think is somehow sensitive. I add the location, the name of the person and what s/he has said. There is also sometimes or perhaps even always some sort of distortion in this “self-portrait”. Since I don’t write what I have said or asked to arouse this to me expressed opinion. And the context is also not, or partially not clear. Since one doesn’t really know the situation or time-frame of the happening. And also since I don’t add if this person is family, a friend or a person who I have just met for the first time or the 5th time in the disco. I think this leaves a lot open to the imagination of the viewer to form a self-portrait.

The visuals or actual self portraits photographs that I am making of myself now start to divert from the “selfies” that I took in the beginning. The photographs now might become a more physical reaction or contrast, conjunction or addition to what others are saying. For example this week. Someone said: “You shouldn’t be so critical about your dancing because if you are good at something it is stupid to do that. You should be confident and enjoy that you are good at something.” The photograph that I show is a picture of my once broken tow caused by a Taekwondo lesson in the past.


imageKim Engelen, [Self-Portraits], 2 April 2014, MY ONCE BROKEN TOW CAUSED BY A TAEKWONDO LESSON IN THE PAST, Berlin/Germany

Berlin/Germany, Week 12, 2014

Whatever the reason is…I find it in my project [Self-Portraits] currently more interesting to show the exclamations of other about me in the series. Then that I show actual self made portraits of myself. And does a self portrait have to be a visual anyway? Somehow the opinions expressed say also something of these others. The people who are viewing or experiencing the to him or her shown “me”. And that is (whatever their judgement is) apparently for one reason or another important for them to tell me. And perhaps this, maybe says even something of our era or at least of a certain scene where I then move in? Let’s see where this develops to…


Kim Engelen, [Self-Portraits], 13 March 2014, WATCHING A ROBERT STORR LECTURE ONLINE, Berlin/Germany

Maasbracht + Sittard + Weert/Netherlands, Week 11, 2014

[Self-Portraits] or/and [Sun-Penetrations]
Combinations. Is that okay? What happens when that occurs. It happened in the bathroom. Standing in front of the window with the shutters still half closed. It was an exceptional beautiful day (light wise). The sun easily penetrated through the shutters and hit my face while standing in front of the mirror. I just had to make this photograph. First with the iPhone. After that with my “real” camera. The zebra stripes of the protections case of the iPhone are matching the curvy stripes the sun-penetrations created when they hit non flat surfaces (my face and hair). Happy accidents are welcome.

But afterwards seeing and comparing the pictures, they exhume different spheres because of the apparatus which are also visible in the photographs. The iPhone pics I find more fitting in the [Sun-Penetrations] series, but then with a clear human element visible in them and showing the recording devise. Which makes this a photograph standing out of the series. And the “real” camera photos to me clearly belong to the [Self-Portraits] since the camera “talks” differently in the photograph. And then for some reason I loose my interest. Ok, I will show the iPhone picture here below anyway. To let this one simmer first. Also the title does not matter so much in the [Sun-Penetrations] series. So categorized for now in the series: [Sun-Penetrations].


imageKim Engelen, [Sun-Penetrations], 13 March 2014, IMG_5244, Maasbracht/Netherlands

Berlin/Germany—> Netherlands, Week 10, 2014

Project [Self-Portraits]
My project [Self-Portraits] at the moment consist of 3 parts:
1. Self made photographs of myself. 2. Titled IN CAPS accompanied by City/Country and Date. The in caps part of the title, states something about my mental or physical condition. 3. A collection of expressions from people about me. These are quotes from people that state their opinion towards me (be it family, colleagues, good friends, Facebook ‘friends’ and complete strangers. 
This is a project in process. Or perhaps it is similar to sketching instead of ‘serious’ drawing. And I feel okay with this. I don’t feel pressure or any rush to complete this project somehow soonish. I just let it continue and grow. And who knows, maybe something interesting can come from this. And hey, isn’t it so, that sometimes the sketches (and the process it is showing) can be more interesting then the final drawings?


Kim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 10 March 2012,

Berlin/Germany, Week 9, 2014

First page
"You aren’t really like other people. You’re a different class. Although, that said, life might’ve been more tolerable if you’d been less intolerant. You’ve fallen out with all your friends, masters of this, masters of that, even with your own brother."

From: Ionesco, Eugene. „The Chairs.” Ionesco, Eugene.  The Chairs. Trans. Martin Crimp.  London: Faber and Faber, 1997. 66


Kim Engelen, Self-Portraits] My hand with new Ring, Berlin, 1 December 2013

1 month ago / 1 note

Berlin/Germany, Week 8, 2014

Last week I wrote that I made two sets of shots, with two different apparatuses when the winter-sun unexpectedly penetrated into the space of the bedroom, through one side of the curtain. First I made six photos with the iPhone and then six photos with the Sony Cybershot Camera. The photograph below is one of the second set of six photographs made with the Sony Camera.

When I did this the sun had already turned leaving the room again almost in darkness. I had to move my angle to capture the sun-penetration at its best. And the sun penetration you see which sort of seems to be floating in the air is in fact beating the chrome tubular of a Mart Stam Cantilever Armchair. Because of the light hitting off the surface on both sides one can see because of this a green box standing and a red dress hanging on the clothing rack.


imageKim Engelen, [Sun-Penetrations] 10 February 2014, DSC00060, Berlin/Germany

Berlin/Germany, Week 7, 2014

Lately when I wake up the first question that then appears in my head is always the same: “What is the reason for me to get up?” And then the struggle starts to get up. This week a sun-penetration helped me: I saw that the sun was peeping through one side of the curtain and hitting the white painted steel from a wardrobe rack. I could not get up immediately. But I knew that I had to get up immediately since I knew that the sun disappears sometimes very rapidly. So I had the iPhone next to me and made six photos. Then I remembered my own plan to be more flexible in post and to make the photographs with a higher quality camera. So I went to get it. And when I got back the sun had already turned. Although slightly but already leaving the room in darkness again. By coincidence I could make the same amount of pictures with the Sony Cybershot camera. And then after those six photographs the penetration of the sun was gone. The results is that I have, so to speak, two sets of shots, with two different apparatuses. The one below is one of the six photographs made with the iPhone. The light is hitting on the steel pipe, illuminating clearly the green box standing on the clothing rack and making the content of the box also visible. On the right you can see the sun-penetration also hitting the edge of a painting by Kota Ezawa. This is also his Berlin apartment that I am now subletting.


imageKim Engelen, [Sun-Penetrations] 10 Feb 2014, IMG_5061, Berlin/Germany

Berlin/Germany, Week 6, 2014

I shortly want to give praise to two other artists: Mirjam Kroker and Tue Greenfort. Mirjam I met in Kassel during dOCUMENTA (13) and now again here in Berlin. We were both at a sort of fancy pansy opening and both feeling a bit out of place. And afterwards over coffee and discussion about the show and such she said the most delightful thing which gave me renewed hope: “We artists have to go to openings as a way to show each other support.” This was weeks ago but her finding still lingers in my heart. This same feeling of inspiring optimism I had with Danish artist Tue Greenfort in 2012, when I was studying for my MFA in Malmö/Sweden. At the ending of his presentation he exclaimed: “A r t i s t s   U n i t e !”


imageKim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 15 March 2013, IMG_9443, Max-Beer Straße 12, Berlin/Germany

2 months ago / 1 note

Berlin/Germany, Week 5, 2014

Last week I was talking with an Italian friend who is a photographer about post-production in photography. As for me I want for my art to tell the truth, to show a situation through an image as real as possible. But with it I also want to show beauty, which does not need to be a contradiction with reality of course, because in roughness and faults can also be beauty. So I do look for aesthetic beauty or a certain attractiveness in the image. But not with the costs of distraction of the thing that is visible in the image. And this is a very thin line.

With my video art I never like/d to have quick shots and filters and visual effects in order to have catchy great looking clips. In fact I like steady and long shots, up close to the person in front of the camera. To give the viewer the time to look and think about what is happening and to scrutinize the image. Good lighting and sound at the moment of production I find thus important in order as to register all that has to be seen as well as possible. But now comes the thing with the [Sun-Penetrations] photos. Can one compare post-production in photography and video? Somehow I just don’t like for my work after the moment of conception to then fidget on the color or the white balance or contrast or whatever. However I do want to make beautiful images with whatever there is. But I just can’t wrap my head around it. Because to me post-production equals manipulation. But if this manipulation helps one to understand the images better or the get a better feel of the situation or person in front or the camera OR if the image becomes more appealing. Is it then so wrong? The answer could be no. But what is it then, that I just don’t like this?

The moment of the making, when the sun is peeping in. To capture this image so that one can look at this happening after it has disappeared in real time. This image has to be good. Period. The space is slightly dark and the sun coming in, is extremely bright or sharp white. This I want to show, this has to be in the image that the viewer gets presented. Post-Production on the image until now I haven’t done. But I can try this and see if I change my mind. If the image becomes indeed artificial. If in some way I feel this, then it has to be discarded, even if the image itself becomes better or more attractive. I guess because I am not necessarily looking for this sort of professionalization of the image. This I do not need to show. I want to show what is happening. The real thing. And this is best as possible.


Kim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations] 17 September 2012, IMG_6175, Kassel/Germany

Maasbracht/Netherlands, Heinsberg/Germany, Week 4, 2014

So last week I wrote that I decided to make the photographs from the series [Sun-Penetrations] with a small Sony digital camera instead of with my iPhone. And when I traveled to the Netherlands to my great surprise there was the sun, and she was peeping through a corridor door which was ajar. Here below you see one of the resulting photographs.


imageKim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 17 January 2014, DSC00034, Echterstraat 1, Maasbracht/Netherlands

Maasbracht & Sittard/Netherlands, Week 3, 2014

If I want to have freedom as an artist to do whatever suits right for my work. Then this means I also want to be flexible or free in the post-working flow in order to be able to do with the image/s as I please. And this post-freedom has effects on the working method and thus comes with a restriction in the actual production. Since it means I need to change my working habit. Choosing in freedom sounds a bit like a paradox: freedom during the making or freedom in post. For example if I want to have freedom on the longer term then this would mean that when I go out I have to think of bringing along a camera (instead of only my phone), which means the working flow is less spontaneous and more calculated. But if I want to have freedom to do with image/s as I please in post-production and distribution. Then this has this consequence. It asks for more dpi/data, in order to have better image-quality.

The coming weeks I am going to try this out. Because at least I have a small handy camera that I could carry with me all the time, it is invisibly flat and not too fancy but with a good quality.



Kim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 6 August 2013, IMG_3900, Maasbracht/Netherlands

Berlin/Germany, Week 2, 2014

So I had one of my [Sun-Penetrations] photographs printed on 140x100cm (55x40 inches). On the one hand I am pleased to see the image blown up on di-bond and what affect this has on the image and the atmosphere that it transfers. But on the other hand the printers have printed the photograph too dark and I have to admit that I am not pleased with the slight pixilation visible in the image. And the latter is because of my own choice by making pictures with the camera on my phone.

And now that I see the image enlarged in front of me, the idea or reason to use the camere does not match with the factual aesthetic reality. So although I like the directness of making photographs with my phone and the ephemeral quality that it might show and other elements that become visible by this such as time, profession, freedom, limits. The sadness I experience over the enlarged image is not because of the distraction by the pixilation from the image (because the pixilation does indeed say something and adds something to image as well). But by the omission of the potentiality that the image could also have had transported. So this expensive test is a painful result that was needed in order to comprehend this. Meaning the potentiality of the image is for me more important then those other elements.


  • Read:
  • Sol Lewitt, Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, 1967, read online»
  • Jonathan Lethem, The Happy Man, 1991, read online»
  • Jonathan Lethem, Five Fucks, 1996, read online»
  • Jack London, To Build A Fire, 1908, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, Death May Be Ageing, 2005, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, Lust, 2006, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, To My Wife, 2004, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, Cancer Cells, 2002, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, Meeting, 2002, read online»
  • Harold Pinter, After Lunch, 2002, read online»
  • Kostas Karyotakis, Ballade to the Forgotten Poets of the Ages, 1896-1928, read online»
  • Arthur Schnitzler, Reigen (English: Hands Around), 1896 (English translation Marya Mannes 1917), read online»
  • bandito.blogsport, Hugh Ryan, Do you VoKü?, 2004, read online»
  • Focus, Ilona Bürgel, Zufriedenheit macht gesund: Trimmen Sie Ihr Gehirn auf den Glücklich-Modus, 2014, read online (German)»
  • Dante Alighieri between, Divina Commedia (English: The Divine Comedy, 1308-1321, Canto 1-Canto 15, read online»
  • Guevara, Ernesto “Che”. „El Diario del Che en Bolivia.” Guevara, Ernesto “Che”. El Diario del Che en Bolivia. Cuba: Editorial de ciencias sociales, La Habana, 2009. Page 28, 362.
  • Film/Sound:
  • David Lynch, Eraserhead, 1977
  • Allan Kaprow, How to Make a Happening, released as a LP album by Mass Art Inc., 1966, hear online»
  • Landmarks Talks, Veronica Roberts on Sol Lewitt, published 2013, watch online»
  • Open Yale Courses | Foundations of Modern Social Theory | Lecture 14,  - Nietzsche on Power, Knowledge and Morality, accessed January 2014, watch online»
  • Mary Rawson, The House on the Waterfall: The Story of Frank Lloyd Wright`s Masterpiece, 1987, view online»
  • R. Theodore Brown, Lisa Lampanelli, The Queen of Mean, 2002, watch online»
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists, 2011, watch online»
  • Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one, 2013, watch online»
  • Alisa Vitti: Loving your lady parts as a path to success, power & global change, uploaded 2011, watch online»
  • Focus Online, Christian Schmidt, Beziehungsglück: In Krisen nachgeben statt festhalten, 2010, watch online (German)»
  • Photophelix, I’am Awake, 2011, watch online»
  • Richard Wagner, Parsifal (Full), 1813-1883, hear online»
  • The Metropolian Museum of Art, Negin Farsad, 2013, watch online»
  • Robert Altman, Gosford Park, 2001
  • Tanya Wexler, Hysteria, 2011
  • Expo/Presentation:
  • Autocenter, space for contemporary art, BerlinFriday: Katharina Fengler, Charlotte Herzig, Sonia Kacem curated by Samuel Leuenberger & Elise Lammer
  • Museum in Kulturbrauerei: Alltag in der DDR, Berlin
  • [Self-portraits] Zapatissimo Danceschool:
  • Fernando Zuniga:“Jetzt redest du wie ein Ausländer. […] Du tanzt gut. Mochtest du mit mir die Tanz-Figuren üben? Ich bin 26, wie alt bist du darf ich das fragen? Du bist 39, ja ich rate immer sehr gut das Alter. Mann kann sehen das du eine schone Frau warst, oder bist. Es ist deine Persönlichkeit, eine Sorte von Energie die spurt Mann gleich. Du hast keine Problemen mit Tanzpartner zu finden, oder? Wie hast du so schnell in 6 Monaten Spanisch gelernt? Du bist eine schöne Frau und ich mag wie du Tanzt, wir tanzen sehr gut zusammen. Was für Sport hast du noch mehr gemacht? Ah Taekwondo, also du bist eine Kriegerin.”
  • View pictures»

Kim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 22 March 2013, IMG_9362, Max-Beer Straße 12, Berlin/Germany

3 months ago / 2 notes

Berlin/Germany, Week 1, 2014

So I was reading this interview between David Shrigley and Jonathan Monk. In which the latter asks? What happens with all the stuff artists make? And this seems to hit home with the calendars I just produced. Slightly afraid that nobody might purchase them and that they would end up collecting dust.

The [Sun-penetrations] calendar 2014 has a limited signed edition of 125 copies.
These A3-size calendars show a selection of 13 photographs from the [Sun-penetrations] series. The 13 photographs are taken in the Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, UK and Cuba. See it here»

My warm appreciation goes out to all the people who financially aided to get these calendars printed. And to Michael Fausser of fatalesImages who helped with the lay out so that the final copy was delivered correctly to the printers.
Which means that from the 125 calendars 20 copies go to these fantastic people who helped me. And then I want some 10 calendars to give/send to people because of various reasons.
So in short ¼ of these calendars will go out into the world.

But what now? Where do these calendars go? Will they all arrive at their predestined destination? And where will then the calendars be placed? Will they get writings over them? Will they hang visible in the living room, or in the workspace, studio, or in the kitchen, or inside the kitchen closet or even on the toilet?

In fact I would like the toilet. In the toilet the calendar could be right in front of the spectators nose. That would be an excellent place where the calendar could be. It is a place where you are (mostly) by yourself. Where you can think and contemplate and have your private moment of silence. A perfect place and time to watch art.


  • Read:
  • David Shrigley interviews Jonathan Monk, Why are we Artists?, 2006, read online»
  • Art in Review, Ken Johnson, Jonathan Monk — Free Lane, 2002, read online»
  • John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums, 1938, read online»
  • Paul Éluard, À peine défigurée, 1895–1952, read online»
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birth-mark, 1843, read online»
  • Bjerstedt, S. (2013). Strong experiences with music: Music is much more than just music: A review essay. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 14(Review 7). Retrieved 2013, read online»
  • Daniel Nester, Suspicious Minds, 1968, read online»
  • Daniel Nester, Late Anniversary Madriga, 1968, read online»
  • Daniel Nester, Deaf Rush Limbaugh’s Macaronic Blues, 1968, read online»
  • Daniel Nester, There’s Got To Be A Morning After, 1968, read online»
  • Stern, Karina Kraft, Nicht die Droge ist die Quelle der Sucht, sondern die Suche, 2013, read online»
  • Guevara, Ernesto “Che”. „El Diario del Che en Bolivia.” Guevara, Ernesto “Che”. El Diario del Che en Bolivia. Cuba: Editorial de ciencias sociales, La Habana, 2009. Page 27, 362.
  • Film/Sound:
  • Burt Brinckerhoff, TV Movies, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, 1980, watch online»
  • Peter Kelleher, Yohji Yamamoto: The Poet of Black, published 2013, watch online»
  • Diana Nyad, Never, ever give up, 2013, watch online»
  • Dr. Gregory B. Sadler, Core Concepts: Jean-Paul Sartre, Existence Precedes Essence, published 2012, watch online»
  • Omroep Human, Aflevering 12 Durf te Denken - Jean Paul Sartre, uploaded 2011, watch online»
  • BBC Human, All Too Human, Louise Wardle, Documentary on the life of Jean Paul Sartre : The Road to Freedom, 1999, watch online»
  • Gabriel Knetsch, Zwischen Utopie und Frust: Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre, uploaded 2012, hear online»
  • Wesley Cecil, Jean-Paul Sartre His Life and Philosophy, published 2012, hear online»
  • Frank Gehry, My days as a young rebel, 2008, watch online»
  • The Metropolian Museum of Art, Kyle Abraham, 2013, watch online»
  • The Metropolian Museum of Art, Andrew Bolton on Alexander McQueen, 2013, watch online»
  • Alex Cox, Repo Man, 1984
  • Expo/Presentation:
  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
  • [Self-portraits] First working day at the Pergamon Museum:
    Mark: Bist du Schauspielerin?” (…) “Ich kann es nicht wirklich erklären. Aber viele von meine Freunden sind Schauspieler, und du hast auch so ein offenen blick.”
  • View pictures»
imageKim Engelen, [Sun-penetrations], 30 April 2013, IMG_9825, Max-Beer Straße 12, Berlin/Germany
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