There is more to sexuality than just men and women. Vulvaverbond, an artist collective consisting of Celine Terpstra and Pam Plascheck, explores the broader spectrum of sex and gender. Celine and Pam graduated from the full-time bachelor course Fine Art and Design in Education at ArtEZ in Arnhem. In the video below, they talk about the inspiration behind their graduation project, the course itself and their plans for the future.
A utopian picture in six costumes
The plural possibilities of sexuality is an important topic for Vulvaverbond. But what does that mean? “What we are trying to say is that other ways of living need to be represented,” says Celine. “For example, I was raised as a Christian, so when it came to sexuality a lot of things were kind of pre-defined. During my studies I started to delve into stuff like Donna Harraway and queer ecological studies, which taught me that a lot of things the church sees as unnatural are actually quite the opposite.” Take for example how polyamory is more visible in nature than monogamy.
Pam agrees: “We want to paint a utopian picture, representing all different life forms through the use of costumes.” The graduation project consists of an installation, a film and six costumes. The costumes symbolise different species, whose sexual behaviour is partly derived from reality and partly fantastical. Vulvaverbond allows for a liberated view on sexuality and gender. “It doesn’t have to be so binary all the time,” says Pam.
Room for mistakes
Celine and Pam say they have benefited a lot from the artistic and educational freedom the bachelor course Docent Beeldende Kunst & Vormgeving has to offer. Pam: “We were allowed to compose our own curriculum. This way we could specialise from the second year onward. The fact that we were able to graduate together was also very meaningful to us.” Celine agrees. “There’s a lot of room to just stumble,” she says. “The teachers guide you through this as well: you learn that it’s allowed to feel a bit shaky sometimes, that it’s OK.”
On to the Biennale
Vulvaverbond has a lot of plans for the future: first Museum Arnhem, and then of course The Venice Biennale. “We still have a lot of ideas.”
Fine Art and Design in Education is a full-time bachelor course focusing on the connection between art and people. Students grow as both a person and a professional. They are intensively involved with art and keep up with current developments in the art world by visiting exhibitions. After the programme students will own a Bachelor of Education and a first-degree teaching certificate. Besides education, there are also possibilities to work at museums, cultural institutions and festivals.