Marijke de Roover

Marijke de Roover’s work explores the performativity of identity and focuses on feminism, queerness, sexuality and desire, aided and abetted by an iconography and language culled from the culture of the internet and entertainment industry. Her practice undermines institutionalised and heteronormative notions about love and self-representation. In the video #TheSelfieSong (2013), she filmed herself kneeling on her bed, singing popular hits from that year. Filmed on Photo Booth, the work is a testimony to the ease with which digital media allows the fabrication, mediation and dissemination of one’s persona and image into the world. Based on selfie culture and its inherent narcissism, the work holds up a mirror to the mass phenomenon that has become central to the contemporary staging of the self – a practice which is both extrovert and self-absorbed at the same time. Niche Content for Frustrated Queers (2019–20), is a series of memes created by the artist produced as c-prints. Far from being trivial, memes – which the artist suggests should be critically interpreted as texts – have been used to develop a language that reproduces a certain culture of a given moment. At the same time, the simplified nature of memes often relies on normative power structures, ultimately spreading stereotypical representations. Looking at issues of gender in anonymous online spaces, where memes mostly circulate, one may remark that they can largely be hostile and unwelcoming to anyone who does not identify as white and male, thus affirming heteronormativity as the prevailing sexual orientation. By contrast, Marijke de Roover’s niche memes instead propose a wide variety of coupling practices, outside given norms. The series reflects the Millennial generation’s sense of pessimism and self-mockery, showing how institutionalised heterosexuality structures gender and offers an insight into the reality of dating and relationships in the digital age, regardless of gender and sexual preferences.

 

 

Marijke de Roover