With her practice, Bernke Klein Zandvoort moves between the fields of literature and visual arts. She is interested in text and narrative in all their appearances. She has published poetry books and literary essays, and makes video work, lecture-performances, and live video essays. In addition, she works as a freelance editor, teacher and advisor.

The Rope from Sense to Sensevideo work2023/24

Exploring the idea of an acoustic gaze with a group of musicians who are blind. From interviews with these musicians, I selected a collection of sentences, that I gave back to them as material for a new song.

Eye as an Oraclevideo work2023

An artificial eye, phantom images, the predictive brain and blindness without darkness: to what extent is seeing a virtual process?

Hands are no Horizonsvideo2023

A blind artist reproduces her mirror image by touch.

Optic Eclipseinstallation2022

Expanding the notebook. Digging deeper. The endless number of windows open on my screens overlap with those opened in my mind.


Sometimes you’ll see a metal plaque on a park bench with an inscription, commemorating a person who once liked to sit there and is no longer with us. What I’m struck by is how, when you sit down there yourself and lean back, for a moment you are one with the body of someone from the past, sharing their gaze.

Under a bell jaressay2022

'The harvest of Vitro Plus doesn’t germinate from spores, seeds or cuttings, but from a jelly of genes that are cultivated on clean tables, in clean Petri dishes, and with sterilised knives and tweezers in a laboratory.'

Fieldworkpoetry collection2020

In these poems I collect data and questions that keep me company: what is the role our senses and our language play in the construction of realities?

Blossom Gumpoem2020

For this poem, I coined the term ‘blossom gum’ to describe the process of accruing and carrying with you clumps of flower petals stuck together under the soles of your shoes.

The Gaplive video-essay2019

Using different storylines, I explore the materiality of the comma.

In the Trap of the Languageessay2019

My mother started with a shorter fishing rod, because she wasn’t yet strong enough to reel in a fish along a full-size rod. She must have been around seven or eight years old. During her teenage years, she got strong enough and would bring the same ensemble as her father.

Decoding Dictatorial Statuesbook2019

How can we decode public statues and their visual languages, their objecthood and materiality, their role as media icons, and their voice in political debates?

the foolpoem2020

'... but I drew the Fool, she says: you used to be a nun who lived on landscapes,
today, you're as free as you let yourself be'

Everything at Work in the Field of Play – Digging, Running, Throwinginstallation2018

When his parents were away one night in 1928, a boy started digging as many holes as he he could find space for in his London backyard. When he managed to reach a depth of 120 cm in one of the holes, his spade hit on a ball-shaped object containing 654 Roman coins.

All her work is connected by a curiosity about visual perception and how we (get to) know the world through the lenses of words. She is interested in text as material, in the porosity between fact and fiction and in experimentation rather than literary tradition.

From 2017-2018 she was an artist-in-residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie post-academic institute. Her last poetry collection, Veldwerk (Fieldwork, 2020), was nominated for De Grote Poëzieprijs and she was a festival poet at Poetry International in 2021.

At the moment, she is working on a film project and a book-long essay about the materiality of the gaze. She also is coordinator of the Writers' Program and advisor at the post academy Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht.



‘In this hyper-aware poetry, we see an intriguing interplay come into being. We become aware how things that seem disparate are interlinked: day and night, dream and reality, the self and the other, body and gaze, language and image (…) Each poem redefines reality.
“Beneath the letters is where it’s got to happen,” she writes. And it does.’


‘Anything is possible. The space between and beyond the images described, the implicit meaning that arises, offers a language-based escape from observed reality.’
-NRC Handelsblad

‘It’s as if she patiently let her poems ripen inside of her before sharing them with the public. This collection is rich in flavor and plants seeds in the reader’s mind.’
-Friesch Dagblad

‘If the purpose of art is to teach people to look more closely, Bernke Klein Zandvoort’s poetry is Art with a capital A. In Fieldwork, she reveals herself to be a master of observation. The tiniest details in a human life, in a landscape, in a star-studded sky, can trigger associations as delicate as gossamer. It takes courage to stay close to small, everyday observations in this way. But that’s not all she does: this poet also observes the act of observation itself, asking herself what it means to “dilute” reality—to borrow a turn of phrase from one of the poems in the collection—through language and metaphor in poetry. Klein Zandvoort not only excels in her imagery and observations, but also in her use of form. Some poems seem to leap off the page, straight into the reader’s heart.’
-Jury De Grote Poëzieprijs

‘This collection hurtles you from the cosmic to the granular, from chaos to silence, from poem to thought. A number of poems consist of seemingly unrelated fragments. Everything is floating, just like the table of contents.’
-Meander Magazine

‘Her poetry is a paean to perception.’
-de Volkskrant



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