Introducing Badeklasser Boris Dieleman

Boris Dieleman is a ‘creator’ in every sense of the word. The young artist’s creations come in every shape and size. His preferred medium is storytelling, both in relation to himself and about others too. How he does this varies from week to week.

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Boris discovered his love for art as a teenager. Having been given an analogue camera by his father, he would head off outdoors and take pictures with it, often in the woods. Neither did his talent for drawing go unnoticed amongst his teachers at secondary school. He was often told, ‘You should put your talents to good use’. And so it was, he ended up at art school where he graduated as an ‘independent creator’ in 2020, slap bang in the middle of the first lockdown. He now works as an artist, for some of the time at a museum. That requires some degree of focus, since combining employed and freelance work as an artist can be quite a challenge.

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Letter-writing as a ritual

The type of art that Boris creates varies widely. “I started working with photography, but that changed when I worked in the art school library during my gap year. There I was given the job of going in to town with discarded books and telling the passers-by I would meet to go to the library. That turned out to be more enjoyable than I thought. I got into conversation with many different people and often struck up a relationship with them. Subconsciously, I would build up an archive of persons and stories. That inspired me and I couldn’t shake it off. That’s when the idea of storytelling came to me. For me the challenge will always be to capture those stories in a specific medium,” he laughs. “When I was at art school, me and a number of other students were invited to carry out a survey for Museum van Bommel van Dam [in Venlo]. It was there we chanced upon letters from Marianne van der Heijden[, a 20th century Limburg artist].” That inspired me to start writing letters myself. It’s a satisfying ritual: you write the letter, pop it in an envelope, walk to the postbox and drop it in. It arrives with the other person and is put in his, her or their archives. That person can reply or not, it doesn’t really matter. It’s no longer my letter.”

Boris admits that summoning up motivation, or focus, can be difficult. To drum up fresh inspiration for his art, he has made a poster. In it he makes an appeal for stories about sleep, dreams, the night time and lying awake. “I’ve already received a number of stories, but of course, I hope for more.” This lack of focus, he says, can also be put down to the fact that he has such a wide range of interests. “There’s so much I want to do and learn, sometimes I’m never quite sure where to begin. It’s not easy to get started.”

Fun and educational

It helps to talk with other artists who can identify with this. This year he’s taking part in Badeklasse, but not for the first time. “I found myself in a bit of a black hole when I graduated in 2020 and the lockdown didn’t help either. I decided to take part in Badeklasse, and it helped to talk to David and fellow participants on a regular basis via SCHUNCK. It’s a welcoming place.” Because COVID put a spanner in the works for many of the activities for the 2020/21 season, Boris was invited back again this year. “It’s good to be amongst other co-creators where we can share the joys and sorrows of creatorship between us. Before we meet up, David always asks us to share our work, so that we can discuss it. Sometimes he makes suggestions and we talk about them for half an hour or so, at other times it gets quite intense. It’s not always structured, but I don’t mind that at all. It’s funny: sometimes we just have a bit of a laugh and I feel as if I’ve learned nothing, at other times it gets quite serious, but then I learn a lot.”

Tearing through the store window

As far as Boris is concerned, his best experience so far was Mike Moonen’s visit, an arrangement of whose artwork was installed in the store window at SCHUNCK in the winter of 2021. “We were completely immersed in his way of working, we were told we could do anything we liked, so we did just that! We fairly tore through the store window before starting to look for a focus. Looking at the clutter we had made, we searched for some beauty in it. That made more of an impact on me than I expected. When we had finished, I was quite astounded, not just about me, but the group as a whole.”

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Boris is the only male in the class this time around and one of the youngest too. It’s not an issue at all, he says, just another pleasant surprise. “Everyone is open and receptive to the ideas of others. Life experience doesn't really matter so much in this respect – that always amazes me. It’s all about the people who do it.”

Stories of the night time can be sent to Boris via Postbus 326, 6130 AH, Sittard.

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