Emily Kocken
The Maiden Element

02/02/2013 – 23/03/2013

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Opening: Saturday 2 February 2013, 15–19

“Feminine objects and faces, full of light and darkness, fall, float and freeze in a white void. Guided by rules of a game with private categories, I may have found it, an inkling of what could be called the maiden element, something mesmerizing that has the tendency to surpass the boundaries of life and death.”


Emily Kocken is a visual artist and writer who works and lives in Amsterdam. Born in 1963 in New York, she moved with a part of her family to the Netherlands at the age of seven. She received a rich training in the academic field, studying music, philosophy, theatre, film and writing. In her interdisciplinary research she displaces fragments from the lives of others with her own, defining the personal sublime in public micro histories.

Emily Kocken has participated in many exhibitions and received a number of grants for her research from acknowledged art foundations. Her first novel ‘Witte vlag‘ will be published by Querido Publishers in 2013.

In this solo show we present her most recent work, called The Maiden Element. Her work researches intersubjective and spatial relationships, displacing fragments of the lives of others with her own, measuring the residue of energy of micro historic events in specific places. The research for The Maiden Element started two years ago with a research of the death of young girls. Death carries a tragic significance that gains an even more dramatic weight when related to children. The conceptual and situationist elements resonating in Emily’s work sublime the raw effect of this reality.

This exhibition presents three moments that complement each other: two series of drawings and one series of black and white photographs. In the first drawing series, Emily starts with an outline on a white piece of paper and writes a narrative creating continuous movement between the elements. The second series of drawings hides the faces of the young girls who died. Using found footage from the early days in photography, Emily evokes a timeless story that makes the viewer think when and where it happened or question if it actually did happen. This sense of mystery also carries into her photography series. In the third moment of this project, she involved a small group of girls, between six and twelve years old. They play an active role in her personal life, and she invited them to participate in a series of photo sessions. After a brief explanation of her work, these girls submerged fully in this assignment carefully designed by the artist.