This has become the title of the series of works I have made between 2018 and now. Partly inspired by the (print) work of Francisco Goya, I started a series of graphic works in the summer of 2018 in which I could visually reflect on morality in our contemporary society. I wanted to take a critical look at our behavior in day to day situations. Topics such as addiction, neglect, upbringing, aggression, corruption, pride, frustration, stupidity, selfishness, (animal) abuse, peer pressure, unreliability, and anger have all been reflected on in this series. The works are not intended to be pedantic. They are not made to insult or to preach, but are there to remind people that these situations exist and that you have the power to change things for the better. We all have our own responsibility in this.
In order not to fall into visual clichés and to make these works from a sincere and authentic starting point, I continued to study morality through film and literature. I looked at what was written about morality in philosophy, religion, biology, mythology and other subjects. All this to have the widest possible basis to work from. The topics in the Small Crimes series are mainly of a more innocent nature. They are important enough for me to highlight because there are many little things in our lives that affect our behavior in a negative way. These are things that seem harmless but in the meantime open the door to much greater crimes. Most works are small in size (10x10cm). This has been a practical choice since the printmaking technique I use to make the series (mezzotint) is a very time consuming technique. The entire process, from preprocessing the copper plate to printing, takes me about 7 working days for a 10x10cm work.
When I started this series, I immediately had the idea that Small Crimes would be the first chapter in a larger series in which, in addition to these more innocent moralistic dilemmas and situations, I also want to take more complex problems as a subject.
Why morality as the subject of a series? Morality is a complicated subject in the multicultural Dutch society. Different cultural backgrounds logically lead to different norms and values. In addition, these values change over time. How do we in our society ensure that these different moralistic views do not cause conflict? Globalization and technological progress have also changed our society. We live in the age of information. Smartphones, social media and the internet have become integrated parts of our lives. I am interested in the influences that all these changes have on us and our behavior in dealing with others. Has all the freedom of choice and information not made us a little apathetic and indifferent? And do we learn other norms and values through these information flows? All these questions and more inspire me to continue working on this series.
About Sjoerd Tegelaers
Born in 1987, works and lives in Nijmegen The Netherlands
2014-2015 | Postgraduate printmaking, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design, Wroclaw, Poland
2010-2014 | Bachelor Fine Art (painting) Artez Institute of the Arts, AKI Enschede
Grants and Scholarships
2018-2019 | Stipendium for young talent, Mondriaan Fund
2013-2014 | Erasmus scholarship. Destination, Facultad Bellas Artes, UCLM, (Cuenca, Spain)
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