Patricia Kaersenhout (b. 1966, lives and works in Amsterdam, NL) is a Dutch visual artist, activist and womanist of Surinamese heritage. She studied Social Studies at the Amstelhorn Amsterdam and Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
Patricia Kaersenhout researches hidden and forgotten stories, in a body of work that unfolds as an artistic search for the meaning of invisibility resulting from the African diaspora and colonialism. Her work embodies the paradox of wanting to visualize the unseen and to allow the undefinable. The subjects Kaersenhout researches deal with the position of Black women in relation to sexuality, slavery, colonialism and racism. Her artistic practice has long been inspired by Black activism, a mission she passionately identifies herself with. It is not only the legacy of the Dutch colonial period that is important for her work, she is also addresses current developments associated with migrants from Africa. Within her work she investigates decolonial aesthetics that question why, within Western aesthetics, categories such as beauty and representation have dominated discussions about art and its value. “To what extent do these categories determine how we feel about ourselves; white or black, high or low, strong or weak, good or bad.” (Walter Mignolo)
Kaersenhout works across a wide range of media, and often collaborates with others, presenting performances and public art projects as well as studio work. The reception of her work coincides with a political wave of emancipation among younger activists and artists of colour worldwide, and where the response is more and more one of recognition.
She has exhibited, performed and taught widely, with new productions in 2021 at Centraal Museum Utrecht, Diversity United at Berlin Tempelhof (DE) which will travel later to the New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (RU) and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (FR), Nest Den Haag and Frans Hals Museum Haarlem. In 2020 at Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht (NL), Kunstverein Braunschweig (DE), Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz (DE), De Appel, Amsterdam (NL) 2019, The National Art Gallery of the Bahama’s 2019, Manifesta 12 in Palermo 2018; Prospect 4, New Orleans (US) 2017-18; gHoltegaard (DK) 2017; Vleeshal, Middelburg (NL) 2016; Volksbühne, Berlin (DE) 2016; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL) 2016; Biennale of Dakar (SN) 2014; the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and the Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (NL), 2013. In 2012 at the Queens Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA), New York
Patricia Kaersenhout’s solo show Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Too? at De Appel, Amsterdam was running till 1 December 2019 and resulted in an extended version of the seminal work from 2017 with the same title. Click here for VPRO Mondo’s podcast Naakt op een kleedje met Devika Partiman.
Kaersenhout’s work is represented in international private collections as well as public and corporate collections including Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Museum Moderne Kunst Arnhem, European Investment Bank Luxembourg, ABN Amro Amsterdam , AkzoNobel Art Foundation and CBK Zuidoost Amsterdam.
Learn more about Patricia Kaersenhout through her TEDx Talk in 2018:
Click here for a feature at NH television (in Dutch) 2 September 2020.