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Anne Verhoijsen

The video Splitzij shows the long-term work process and performances of Anne Verhoijsen in collaboration with embroidering men in suits. In the years 1999-2002, Verhoijsen taught more than a hundred men, decision makers from the art world and government, in groups of four in cross-stitch embroidery. For example, a VVD councilor embroidered during a debate in the Amsterdam City Hall and groups of men dressed in suits were put to 'typical women's jobs' in the corner window of De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam. The embroideries were eventually auctioned in aid of the Mama Cash Foundation, which supports feminist activism.

 

Live Performance Splitzij

After a career as a psychotherapist and yoga teacher, Anne Verhoijsen (Someren, 1951) decided to explore being an artist at the age of 45. Her striking performance at the Kunstvlaai (2000) in Amsterdam, in which four men in dark suits embroidered silently on a tablecloth, was part of her long-term project Splitzij (1999–2002). For the opening of D(R)AAD. About embroidery as protest and healing Anne Verhoijsen decided to perform the performance again. How does she look back on this reenactment?

Anne Verhoijsen: “I still thought it was an exciting image. It is an image that continues to chafe. Even after twenty-three years you think: 'Hey, what do I see?' You're still not used to men in suits doing embroidery. If women were embroidering in a business suit, you would think it was more of a joke. There is more going on with the men, it is a statement, an alienating image. It was, and it remains so.”

In 1999 and 2002, Verhoijsen taught more than a hundred men, decision makers from the art world and the government, in cross-stitch embroidery in groups of four. Her 'students' made a breadcrumb with their name and worked on a communal tablecloth. This resulted in remarkable scenes, such as a VVD councilor embroidering during a debate in the Amsterdam City Hall, and groups of men in suits who were put in the window of De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam to carry out the 'typical women's job'. The embroideries were eventually auctioned in aid of the Mama Cash Foundation, which supports feminist activism.

Image: Daphne Severeijns