Get to Know : Roberto Voorbij

April 20, 2020

Get to Know : Roberto Voorbij

Roberto Voorbij (1974) lives and works in Amsterdam, holds a bachelor degree in Visual arts and Art History from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and has attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he took classes from a.o. Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle during the late 1990s.

Nominated for the ‘Prince Bernhard Fund’ and ‘Piet Bakker Prize’ for his graduation exhibition (video piece ‘Everyday’) and more recently for the ‘Artist in Action Prize’.

Voorbij is an interdisciplinary artist apart from working with ‘ready made’ materials, he works with 3D Software, video and (digital) collage.

We have interviewed him about his daily life and studio to give you a little inspiration.


1-Tell us about your studio space - what do you love about it?

My studio is in a so-called 'broedplaats' (literally 'breeding ground') which is connected to the hip Volkshotel in Amsterdam. So there is always a buzz of activity no matter what time of day you are working.

Portrait 43: O’Keeffe

2-What is your daily routine when working?

As an artist you are always ‘on’. Or as Joseph Beuys put it, "Artists don't have vacation." So always a sketchbook with me, or an ever-growing list on my smart phone with notes and ideas.

3-What’s playing in your studio right now?

Silence is preferred but when music is playing it is usually in shuffle mode. From spoken-word artist Gil Scott-Heron to classical music by Mozart or Grieg. I like it to be eclectic, contrasting like a film score.

4-Where do you seek inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. The most important thing is to stay focused, not to daydream too much. So I prefer to read non-fiction, my own mind already offers me more than enough fiction.

5-What is your favourite art gallery in London?

This is mainly dictated by my favorite artists. Either Hauser & Wirth for Avery Singer, David Zwirner for Luc Tuymans, White Cube gallery for Anselm Kiefer, Thaddaeus Ropac for Daniel Richter, Gagosian for Cady Noland.

"Inspiration is everywhere. "

6-Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?

René Magritte is without a doubt my all time favorite artist. But when it comes to truly classical artists, Johannes Vermeer would be my choice. One of my teachers at the art academy described it as if God himself had grabbed Vermeer's hand. Although some sober explanations are possible as well in which Vermeer would have made his paintings with a lens construction. Almost like a machine. But there is something to be said for maintaining the mystery.

7-Any advice for the new art graduates?

Continue to collaborate in whatever form, even if it is a breeding ground or art collective. In addition, ask as many different people as possible for feedback. The more opinions, the more contradictions. Which means that you can ultimately choose yourself again, without doubt.

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