The Total Homeless Package (multiple), 2007
Luuk Wilmering’s oeuvre comprises installation pieces, collages, audio walks, works for slide carousels and artist’s books.
In the artist’s books, the starting point is usually a self-portrait of the artist or a portrait of one of his daughters. Without wasting words or veering into sentimentality, the works offer a humoristic commentary on aspects of daily life. Wilmering has an eye for the poetry of the commonplace. All books were published by the artist himself, usually in limited editions. Wilmering’s works are characterised by the extreme care that goes into their compilation.
The books and multiples are thematically linked to the artist’s other production. In his work, the artist usually focuses on situations of humanity that are modest in scope, but Wilmering portrays them with such precision that the intimacy that they evoke seems almost ironic in intent.
Wilmering is able to paint a striking portrait of impotence: the inability to behave according to the conventions of social interaction. His pictures often depict situations of hard luck and powerlessness, or feelings of loneliness or fear of solitude. For the viewer, such images occasionally give rise to an awkward feeling of mild embarrassment or confusion. And occasionally, the images have an element of tragedy to them. But thanks to their honesty and clarity, they always retain a prepossessing charm.
In his work, Wilmering explores his own position as a human being and an artist. In doing so, the artist doesn’t provide definite answers. But at the same time, his work acts as a kind of template for the viewer’s recognition. Viewing the work, the viewer is challenged to consider his or her own life and history.
Wilmering also speaks up for the less fortunate, in a society that tends to present happiness and success as things that are within everyone’s reach. An example in the present exhibition is the multiple The Total HOMELESS Package: a ‘starter pack for prospective homeless people’. The work consists of a beautiful little box containing a bottle of beer (7.5% alcohol – a refreshing beverage to drink throughout the day), a couple of socks (one blue; one dark grey – with pre-fabricated worn patches) and an instruction booklet containing tips on how to dress and present yourself as a member of the homeless community. Wilmering is convinced that everyone runs a risk of losing the roof over their heads, as we can all fall prey to bad luck and disappointments. In a society that shows little compassion for ‘losers’, and that has made personal luxury and superficial exotic experiences the norm, Wilmering’s presentation of homelessness as a lifestyle is a commentary in its own right.