about Caren van Herwaarden

Studio impression Caren van Herwaarden 2022, by Nishant Bhola

Scenes of my Studio, November 2018, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Creative director: Chirag Bhasin  -  vocalist: Carlos Denia

Movie by Amber Verstegen, commissioned by Vouch.

‘…Caren van Herwaarden identifies herself in the creatures within her work, whether they are people or horses. Her drawings depict the striving and failure of human action, and cover more than the representation of the outside. Van Herwaarden penetrates deeply into her figures, even though they remain anonymous and subordinate to the group in which they are often depicted. An individual feels nurtured by attention, but the empathy of the maker mainly concerns man as a group being. As a viewer you feel the discomfort, the unrest brewing: the lust, the tendency towards chaos and strife. But the artist manages to avoid the worst in the nick of time: the structure she imparts to her drawings wins and offers comfort alongside excitement, beauty alongside chaos, light alongside darkness...' Hendrik Driessen, 2021


Anatomical collection
After the academy, van Herwaarden worked for a few years in the anatomical collection of the Leiden University to study the inside, the material from which we are built. She could not separate the material sheath from feelings like fear, desire, resistance and surrender. Urges and emotions that have a purifying, as well as and a disruptive function in your life. The research in the anatomical collection forms the basis of her work.

The sensible body
Van Herwaarden: 'It intrigues me that our body knows so much, also about the other. The memory and 'intelligence' do not only live in our brain. It is precisely the body, the skin and the muscles that store memories, experiences are embedded in the body: the body memory. Our body can only tell our brain as much as our brain does to our body.’

The capacity for empathy makes compassion and comfort possible: these are achievements that Caren van Herwaarden considers universal and essential to be able to live together peacefully. It is about you: are you able to move - independent of faith, age or gender - in the situation of an (unknown) other person? That is the opposite of dehumanization and cold indifference. With her work Van Herwaarden wants to show this transformation. It is her aim to make this not only visible, but also physically tangible in her work. Van Herwaarden: 'I want the viewer to first experience my work with his thunder and recognize it before he understands it. It must be raw, you must be able to smell it.'