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, makes photographic and video work, and composes live video essays. In addition, she works as a freelance editor and advisor.
An artificial eye, phantom images, the predictive brain and blindness without darkness: to what extent is seeing a virtual process?
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.
'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.'
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?
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.
Using different storylines, I explore the materiality of the comma.
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.
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?
'... 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'
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.