Featured Artist

Iris Donker & Katinka Van Gorkum

Interview by Floor Kortman, images by Iris Donker & Katinka van Gorkum

Our Funny Issue’s featured artists Iris Donker (1986) and Katinka van Gorkum (1988) talk fun stuff like confetti and sticky tape, but also serious stuff, like failing to art and sticky tape. Donker and van Gorkum met while studying at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. Their work shows that while the two are completely in sync, things don’t always go according to plan. They have turned their shared awkwardness into their strength and one of their most appealing attributes. The two might seem a bit silly, but don’t underestimate their ability to question and poke fun at the very serious business that is performance art, while playing badminton in their confetti universe.


Who are you?

Iris Donker and Katinka van Gorkum, visual artists.

What are your favourite funny objects? 

All the colourful substances that exist out of small particles that you can put in your mouth and then eventually spit out. Preferably artificial.

How did you two fall in love?

Iris: I thought you were mysteriously dry.
Katinka: You were the only one who spoke to me.
During a course at the academy it was love at familiar sight. We ended up together in front and behind the camera and we got to know each other through the record button. Initially it wasn’t productive, we got stuck. We had a lot of imagery but there was no real content to be found. In January 2012 we made ‘Zelfredzaamheid’, a compilation video of everything that ‘failed’ during our projects together. Since then it’s been on, we’ve been an inexplicable duo.

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Can you explain of how you work together and how you find balance between bumming around acting silly and actually asking questions?

The combination of our mutual awkwardness in our improvisations, and at the same trying to make serious works, is like combining water and fire. The questions we ask in our work therefore emerge from the friction between our imaginations and reality. We’re in a bubble, we’re aware we’re in a bubble, but this bubble is made out of sticky tape.

The process of your works is very visible, especially in the performances, and in the end I guess in a lot of cases, the process is also sort of the end product. Is this a right assumption? What’s the relationship between the process and the end product for you

We’re sorry, we’re not very good at answering multiple questions at once, and can’t you number the questions and give them different colours? That would help.

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When was the last you made each other laugh?

23 September around 4 pm.

Is there anything to look forward to in the future?

Iris: No…
Katinka: Yes, our TV SHOW! Starting January 2014 we’ll create a monthly TV-show called ‘LIVE – straight from reality’ that will be available all over the internet.

Both the video ‘Zelfredzaamheid’ and the performance registration ‘In de Gloria’ from Iris & Katinka will be on display at Le Mini Who exhibition, 30 November, het Kapitaal, Utrecht.


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