With this continuous painting series, Rik Dijkhuizen explores the antics of make-pretend we so often feel forced to perform in order to sustain within our current-day society.

‘Balancing on a twisted robe over a deep abyss, our fears stay hidden behind joyful smiles. A joke, or two, is satisfying the crowd. But who is there to catch you if you fall? Perfectionism and productivity prevailing, being called deficient ever so glooming. With trembling bodies, we move through our day like dancing shapeshifters, taking on multiple roles and wearing masks to shield us from harm. In this Court, we are, in fact, all Fools, submitted to a regime of judgement.’

By using the motif of the fool (jester/clown) and its specific place in history and theory, I reflect on the burdens of hyperindividuality on our wellbeing. Submitted to nuanced forces that run rampant in our bodies and threaten us into submission, we become either ‘wise fools’ or ‘sad clowns’ in order to not raise suspicion on our flawed humanity. In our attempts to belong, we chose distance over closeness.

And yet, the fool also holds the power of uninhibited joy, innocent curiosity, creativity, and nativity maybe; to deflate tense situations and to subvert authoritarian regimes. But what can we actually learn from the outcasts we just voted off the ‘Ship of Fools’? What knowledge have we left ashore while we set out sail towards our impending demise? When do we gather the guts to come closer and notice that the hard lines of our judgement are actually trembling with a very human fear?