Schilte & Portielje
The couple, which lives and works in Rotterdam, is primarily known for their photography of series of unusual and very recognizable figurines. They display an intricate way of playing with and relating to each other: fantastic poetic, dreamlike figures who abduct the spectator into the artists’ world of wonders and miracles. The figures approach in the middle of a nondescript, plain, undefined room. They offer frontal and back views and grotesquely contorted bodies. They wear costumes adorned with veils and lace, corsages and garters, jewelry, neckties and collars, transparent fabrics and body hugging clothes. All these accessories create different characters in this theatric role-play. The game lives of abstraction. How do huge feet go with a delicate body? Which intricacies are woven into the mesh of physical abnormalities? How do these bodies relate to the pieces of furniture that have been added to the decor for the characters to hold onto or lean against? It is the full intention of the artists not to give a satisfactory answer to these questions; they willingly create confusion and force the spectator to focus more intensely.
During recent years, the artists perfected their mise-en-scene. Photoworks beyond reality from Schilte & Portielje emphasizes surprising moments in surrealist, erotically charged moments. This creates a scrapbook full of subtle hints and uncertain role-play. We can never see the full faces of Schilte & Portielje‘s figurines, mouth and nose are rarely recognizable, the entire head is mostly covered by eclectic hats, fabrics, hairdos or the entire face is headed another way.
Subtle eroticism, demanding poses or the quiet poetry of desire are the elements used in this dark world rich in contrast. Most of the time, female characters appear in his series.
Their work has been featured in numerous exhibitions worldwide and has been included in numerous international private and corporate collections.
Text : Ulrich Ruter, Fotohistorian