Using pen, paper, camera and digital media as her tools, Ella Reitsma.Snoep has throughout her career pursued her passion for bringing stories to life.
Reitsma.Snoep began her career at one of the Netherlands’ most influential magazines, ‘Vrij Nederland’, working there as an art critic for 25 years and as art editor for 15 years. Alongside her writing career Reitsma.Snoep also made a name for herself as a puppeteer, traveling through the country and setting up performances for children. She cemented her name as puppeteer, by setting up her own puppet theatre in the barn of her 17th century farmhouse in Abbekerk.
In the past decade Reitsma.Snoep has published various books, including Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters which accompanied the exhibition of the same name at the Rembrandthuis and the Getty Museum Los Angeles. Her research into Maria Sibylla Merian and the input of her daughters sparked an enduring interest in plants. To understand the working method of Merian, Reitsma.Snoep started growing plants in her garden in Abbekerk - a source of inspiration for her eventual photomontages.
As part of her book Duizend en meer verhalen op sterk water (A thousand and more stories in formaldehyde), she turned to photography to help tell the story of the Zoological Museum of Amsterdam. Photography and in particular photomontage forms the basis of Reitsma. Snoep's practice. Other artistic endavours include her Florilegium series and the as yet to be published Planten op Wereldreis (Plants on World Tour)
In her varied career the story and the telling of that story, whatever it might be, has always been the main focus. Whether that be as art historian, journalist, performer or artist.
From October 17th her newest work will be on view in The Bakery as part of Reitsma.Snoep's solo exhibition Japan. War & Fairytales. The exhibition explores Japan's complicated identity; aggressor in WW II, victim of a brutal attack and yet also known for its age-old quest for tranquil beauty in ceramics, paintings, gardens and rituals. Reitsma.Snoep's own relation to the country mirrors the themes explored in Japan. War & Fairytales. Having been interred as a child in Indonesia's infamous Japanese internment camps for 'enemy foreigners' from 1941 until Augustr 15, 1945, Reitsma.Snoep - intrigued by the beauty of Japanese art and artifacts as an Art History student - only felt ready to travel to Japan in 2017 to explore the country's mixed identity as aggressor and creator of beauty.
Special edition Ella Reitsma Summer prints
As a last Hurrah of Summer, Annet Gelink Gallery is pleased to present these three special edition prints by Ella Reitsma.Snoep taken from her 2017 Florilegium Summer edition. Reitsma created her Florilegia as an ode to the four seasons, producing four boxes containing photomontages that blend Reitsma's photographs with drawings of the legendary Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 - 1717), her predecessors and daughters. The works blur the boundaries between past and present, creating everlasting impressions of Summer.
For this special edition release, the three prints - each a combination of Reitsma.Snoep's photography and the work of Merian and her predecessors - will be available as inkjet prints on fine-art paper, A3 size, each edition of 25 and €275 (inclusive of VAT).
Naturalist, entomologist and botanical illustrator, Maria Sibylla Merian is renowned for the detailed and complex compositions of her drawings. Born in Frankfurt in 1647, she moved to Amsterdam in adulthood, living there for over 25 years until her death in 1717. She was well respected as an artist and researcher; throughout her life Merian published numerous books and would contribute to our understanding of plant and insect life through her meticulously detailed drawings. Recent research has pointed to the important support Merian received from her daughters, Johanna en Dorothea, with a range of drawings now attributed to her daughters rather than Merian herself.
Ella Reitsma.Snoep came upon Merian's work when asked by the Teylers Museum to write an article on the German artist and naturalist. Uninterested in writing a standard text, Reitsma.Snoep delved into the life and work of Merian and discovered a wealth of as yet unminded information including new insights into Merian's predecessors, the discovery of unknown drawings and new biographical details. The research resulted in Reitsma.Snoep's publication Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters .
Furthermore, to understand how Merian and her daughters set about creating their drawings, Reitsma.Snoep started growing her own plants to able to mimic their working process. Unable to create the same quality in her drawings, Reitsma.Snoep turned to the camera to document the various flowers and plants. The foundation for her artistic practice was laid and has developed into Reitsma.Snoep's intriguing photomontages that layer past and present.