A lifetime of hands

A lifetime of hands

Nachtegaallaan 13

You can tell a lot from someone’s hands. Have you ever done that? Read someone by the physical appearance of their hands? Have the hands been through a lot, are they working hands or undamaged and smooth? Presenting hands clearly in this way makes you, as an observer, very aware of your own pair. Especially now, after a long period of not being able to touch each other’s hands, they can now return to the spotlight in this project ‘A lifetime of hands’.

Toos Nijssen has been fascinated by portraits her whole life, portraits of faces and of hands.. In search of diversity and personal handwriting, she encounters 43 pairs of hands in this series. The subjects of the portraits are residents of Vitalis Woonzorg Centrum in Gestel, 2017. For two months, she lived in a mobile studio, or rather a container, that was set up on the Vitalis site. Young and old visited her for this project ‘A lifetime of hands’. Residents, their children and grandchildren visited the temporary studio and sat down with their hands on a cushion. Toos turned on the camera and left. A moment of conscious reflection for her models to think about the report. The participants remained seated for five to ten minutes, and Toos selected one minute for her report. All those video’s together form the work ‘A lifetime of hands’.

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About the artist

Toos Nijssen

Toos Nijssen is a multimedia artist. She has worked as an illustrator, installation artist, sculptor, photographer and video maker on various reports since 1992. Her work has been included in various collections including Van Bommel van Dam in Venlo and in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Always fascinated by hands, as well as faces, Toos makes series and portraits.

Since 1995 she has been working on an archive consisting of video portraits of people sitting in front of the camera in silence for five to 60 minutes, in a specially equipped studio. She now has a total of around 1500 portraits saved to her archive. It forms the basis of her work, from illustrations to installations. The video portraits do not stand alone, but form an installation, together with other techniques. The projects are often developed on commission and are based on a specific theme or location. They are often social projects, such as this one in which Vitalis residents are filmed, but also residents from neighbourhoods that are going to be renovated or demolished. The themes ‘home’, ‘origin’ or ‘emancipation’ are always behind her projects.

Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022. Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022.Projects. 2022.
Projects. 2022.

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