The Dutch photographer Wijnanda Deroo chooses commonplace spaces—waiting rooms, courtyards, ballrooms and private interiors—in a state of degeneration as the focus of her work. Her visual aesthetic and chosen subject matter recall the work of Dutch Masters like Vermeer who specialized in interior scenes of everyday life. Between 1988 and 1992, Deroo traversed the Lower East Side in search of the neighborhood’s Jewish history by recording crumbling fragments and dilapidated recesses of synagogues. Often likened to that of German photographer Candida Höfer, Deroo’s work reveals the Dutch photographer’s fascination with decline and decay. In 2004 the Rijksmuseum commissioned Deroo to document state of the institution before its restoration. She not only highlighted the deterioration of the building’s galleries, but also instilled the vacant spaces with an emotional intensity. Deroo also creates still lifes that exemplify horror vacui, or fear of empty spaces, because every inch of their surfaces are filled with rich, dynamic details. As with all her work, she hints at the human presence in the scenes but rarely includes the individual figures themselves.
Born in 1955 in Zeist, The Netherlands, Deroo attended the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten from 1974 to 1979. She has received several grants including four from the Foundation for the Arts of the Netherlands (1988, 1989, 1995, 2000) and a traveling scholarship from the Netherlands Ministry of Culture to go to Russia and China in 1986. She also completed artist residencies at P.S. 1’s International Studio Program of the Institute of Contemporary Art in New York and at the Berlin-Projectstudio in Germany. Her works are housed in international collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv. Deroo currently works and resides in New York and Amsterdam.
Teacher of Stans Bakker,
Teacher of Wim Goossens,
Teacher of Lucie van Schaik
Berlin Project Studio, Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2006)
International Studio Program of the Institute for Contemporary Art, MoMA P.S. 1, Long Island City, New York, USA (1991)
Traveling scholarship from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, The Hague, The Netherlands (1986)