Hester Scheurwater

Hester Scheurwater 1971

Lives in Rotterdam. Works in Rotterdam.
Represented by:

Frank Taal Galerie

Hester Scheurwater studied monumental art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. Under the guise of self-portraits, she investigates and critiques the role of woman as a sex object. Photographs of herself posing before a mirror reflects both Scheurwater’s inner thoughts and outward appearance. “The mirrored self-images are my way of reacting on the imitated and fake media images, which are constantly calling upon our imagination, without intending to be taken too seriously, ” she explains. ” I try to deconstruct this call’s effect with my reactions by switching the ‘subject-object’ relationship, without being victimized by it.” Scheurwater’s work is sexually explicit, and therefore well known.The explicit images in her work are shocking and prompt discussion about the purported sexualisation of society. At the same time, her works also share links with international feminist art. Scheurwater’s videos were part of feminist programs and exhibitions, including those at the Brooklyn Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art in the USA.

Market position


Sybille, zine
Hester Scheurwater, Desire, New Erotic Photography. Prestel
Desire, New Erotic Photography. Prestel
Sybille, zine
Hester Scheurwater, C photo Ivorypress
C photo Ivorypress
Wild Beaming International Film Festival Breda
Hester Scheurwater, Controversial artist Hester Scheurwater circumvents censorship
by Catherine Somzé/photography Hester Scheurwater for ZOO magazine
Controversial artist Hester Scheurwater circumvents censorship by Catherine Somzé/photography Hester Scheurwater for ZOO magazine


Letter to the Viewer
Dear Art Historian, of course Scheurwater’s work evolves in the tradition of self-portraiture and the pose – in the lineage of artists like Dutch master painter Judith Leyster (her self-portrait is easy to google), an early, 17th century example of an artist who presents herself with pride and radiating energy. You might want to think about the erotically and sexually charged images by Robert Mapplethorpe, Francesca Woodman, Elke Krystufek or Marina Abramovic. Scheurwater’s images, however, are an immediate “shooting back” answer to the voyeurism and exhibitionism that social media and sex websites celebrate; a worldwide mass movement that receives more daily traffic than art publications could ever dream of. No, Thomas Ruff’s work on pornography or Jeff Koons’s Cicciolina have nothing to do with this book; both are about keeping a safe distance. Scheurwater’s work is first and foremost more courageous, precise and ambiguous, oscillating between analysis and desire – between mental play and physical truth.
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Walter Keller
All I Ever Wanted
Hoewel dit fotoboek wellicht seksueel explicieter is dan sommige lezers prettig zullen vinden, vormt het een natuurlijk verlengstuk van Kim Kardashians Selfish, maar dan gezien door het wrange en vragende oog van een kunstenaar. Ze overdrijft en chargeert het soort vrouwelijke objectivering en de nep-identiteit waaraan we gewend zijn geraakt. Toch gaat het op een of andere manier door voor bijna normaal. Scheurwaters satire is zo overtuigend dat hij overtuigend door kan gaan voor het echte werk, wat de dissonantie krachtig maakt. Voor diegenen die hebben gewacht op een fotograaf om het bredere fenomeen van de selfie kritisch te belichten, is het botte en brutale fotoboek van Scheurwater precies wat ze zochten. Scheurwater houdt ons de gemanierde vrijheid en sexiness die we zouden willen (of willen zijn) voor, en legt daarmee de twee polen van exhibitionisme en voyeurisme die het Facebook-tijdperk domineren genadeloos bloot.
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Loring Knoblauch
From the opening speech by Frits Gierstberg
"How very courageous it is therefore that she, as a woman, puts her own body at stake in fighting this battle. That she pinpoints exactly those limits of social tolerance which are preferably left unseen, also in those places where it is feigned that limits between private and public no longer exist. That everything is possible. Where an ideology that attributes social characteristics to technology reigns supreme, as if that is the way in which humanity can be freed from the big lie. Other great female artists have preceded her and have also inspired her. Marina Abramovic, Elke Krystufek, Sanja Ivecovic, Martha Rosler, perhaps Cindy Sherman and others have, each in their own way, shot back, have obstinately and provocatively burst the bubble of the overeroticised, objectified, ostensibly marketable and interchangeable female body. Hester Scheurwater carries on the fight in a contemporary manner, with seemingly minimum resources – using live ammunition. "
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Frits Gierstberg


CV Hester Scheurwater H.I. Ambacht 1971 Under the guise of self-portraits, Scheurwater investigates and critiques the role of woman as a sex object. Education 1993-1995 Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Amsterdam, Culturele Bedrijfsvoering 1989-1993 Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag, Monumentale Vormgeving 1983-1989 Roncallie Scholengemeenschap Bergen op Zoom Atheneum Exhibitions (selection) 2018 Rijksacademie. The One Mintues Series, Liminal Express curated by Kubilay Mert Ural ACF Berlin, Faceless Exhibition curated by Bogomir Doringer 2017 Paris Photo, Grand Palais Paris, booksigning Edition Bessar 2016 Van Gogh Museum, Vincent Night, Amsterdam, Netherlands 2015 All I Ever Wanted, Solo, Gallery Frank Taal, Rotterdam, Netherlands Fotofever art fair, Caroussel du Louvre, Paris, France Brandts Museum, Selfie, Odense, Denmark Faceless, De Markten, Brussels, Belgium 2014 P.A.K., Une Femme est Une Femme, Gistel, Belgium Photobastei, Galerie Walter Keller, Zurich, Switzerland 2013 Ballarat Photo Biennale, core programma, Ballarat, Australia Paardenstallen Broel Museum, Kortrijk, Belgium Faceless, Freiraum, Museum Quartiers,Vienna, Austria 2012 Nofound Photo Fair Paris, France Frank Taal Galerie, Solo Shooting Back, Rotterdam, Netherlands Gallery Nederlands Fotomuseum ,Rotterdam,Netherlands Basic Instincts, OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shengzen, China 2012 SHOOTING BACK, Hester Scheurwater, edited by Walter Keller, Gerber & Keller Zurich (SCALO till 1996). 2011 Basic Instincts, Villa Elisabeth, Berlin, Germany Nelson-Atkin Museum of Art in Kansas City, USA 2010 Stedelijk Museum, Zwolle, Netherlands 2009 Brooklyn Museum of Modern Art New York, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist, Art program appealing /abseiling Publications 2015 Desire, New Erotic Photography, Prestel Publishing ,Patrick Remy All I Ever Wanted, Hester Scheurwater, Editions Bessard, Paris 2012 SHOOTING BACK, Hester Scheurwater, edited by Walter Keller, Gerber & Keller Zurich (SCALO till 1996). 2011 ZOO Magazine, interview by Catherine Somze, no. 31 C Photo Posed/Unposed, Ivory press by Tobia Bezolla Curator Kunsthaus Zurich European Photography #90 Privacy Art Magazine (cover included)