First museum retrospective of Lily van der Stokker This fall the Stedelijk Museum presents a survey of
the work, including wall paintings and drawings, produced by Lily van der Stokker (1954) in the last thirty years. The exhibition Lily van der Stokker – Friendly Good is her most extensive presentation in
a museum so far and most of the works have not been shown in the Netherlands before.
Curator Leontine Coelewij: “Lily van der Stokker has developed an extensive and idiosyncratic oeuvre composed of exuberant, decorative drawings and gigantic wall paintings. Her work refers to beauty, friendship and friendliness, as well as everyday chores like house-cleaning, clearing up, and visits to the doctor. Her work makes no attempt at either irony or cynicism.”
Often incorporating words and phrases, Van der Stokker’s work is firmly rooted in the tradition of conceptual art. Similar to her conceptual forbears (Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Barry), Van der Stokker uses text to explore the essence of art, although as she does so, asks very different questions. Can artists show failures? Is it alright for art to be untrue? Or funny and sweet?
Van der Stokker’s visual language of flowers, looping lines, clouds and curlicues in bold, bright colors, raises questions about what we regard as typically feminine. Her work can be placed in the tradition of feminist art, which does not conform to prevailing standards of good taste. As such, she often exploits concepts that are ‘banned’ from contemporary art, such as the frivolous and decorative.
Van der Stokker: “I am a beauty specialist. I have commissioned myself to research happiness and friendliness in my artwork, and with that I take a stand against irony and cynicism.”
In addition to murals and drawings about family, daily life and old age, visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to see an adapted version of the large installation that she made in 2015 for the lobby of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. It is a colorful, text-based mural on the subject of housework and cleaning. A selection of video recordings (1994-2007) made by her partner, cameraman Jack Jaeger (1937- 2013) also provide a unique insight into her creation process. In one room new work is performed, which has been specially developed for the exhibition.