Dutch couple Schilte & Portielje create a surrealist world inhabited by solitary, mysterious and audacious figures. Jacqueline Portielje (’58), who studied painting, and Huub Schilte (’53), an architect by training, met in 1975 and have inspired each other and were closely involved in each other’s work ever since. They started to collaborate under the name Schilte & Portielje in 1997, three years before they had started to explore computers as a resource for artistic expression, using it as a photography dark room and a drawing/painting tool. Their ideas about art were so complementary that creating works of art together became the rule rather than the exception. The results are digital collages starting with a selection of scraps from a large image bank. During the process of drawing, painting, of adding and subtracting, new possibilities and ideas are generated. Still, the work is mainly based on the intuitive qualities the two artists have honed over the years. There are no rules. Located in the area of tension between photography, drawing and painting, the figures play the lead role in the duo’s photographic works: they are characterised by the mystery that surrounds them; a sort of impenetrability, elegance and power.
The reasons for working in black and white are manifold. First of all they want their work to hold the middle between photography and drawing or painting. At the same time, they value the contrasting combination between advanced computer techniques and the slightly nostalgic feel of black and white images which enables them to increase the distance between art and reality. As their work deals with the fundamental aspects of human existence, be it man or woman, sexual identity is not their issue.
Ambiguity however, is very important for them by creating room for interpretation and identification.
In the end they deliberately eschew meaningful titles and expository texts because they feel these steer the perception of the spectator. As creation, identity and freedom are considered fundamental human needs, art should be a healthy element of differentiation. As artists Schilte & Portielje feel the challenge to reflect in a visual way up on the in their adventure complicated world. After that, for them the interpretation of the result is up to the beholder.
Official site: www.schilteportielje.com