José Witteveen (°1981, Pikesyl, Netherlands) mainly makes large-scale graphic works, using etching and aquatint techniques. At the moment José works in Rome, on a new series of etchings.

The work of José focuses on the melancholic rawness of her surroundings. She transforms the emptiness of the landscape into mythical stories, based on memory, reality and fiction. Previously, José Witteveen created works that were the result of what could be called an ongoing ‘anthropological field research’. In these anthropomorphic, provocative images she explores the animal, instinctive nature of man, hidden under a thin veneer of civilization.

José Witteveen studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Since 2004, she works full-time in Leeuwarden, gratefully using the facilities of the Grafisch Atelier Friesland (Graphic Studio Friesland). Every now and then she leaves this home base for work periods in Berlin, Edinburgh or Reykjavík and now, Rome.

On emptiness
In her etchings José literally gives emptiness its space. By lifting the press halfway, the plate mark disappears, making the print essentially endless. The visual presence of these voids does not only have a poetic meaning, it also makes way for the personal memories of the viewer. It evokes something intangible. A sense of something that often remains hidden, but we all secretly long for and to lose ourselves in.

Modern myths
While in the Icelandic works (2014) of Witteveen the void assumes a mythical character, it also shows in her newest work. Here, it becomes an inescapable space that gradually becomes more significant than the spectacle that it accomodates. In these urban or the typically Frisian landscapes in the North of the Netherlands, the people take on the form of shadows.