This series was influenced by my first visit to the Netherlands in 1986, where I found people more judgmental and where appearances seemed to be more important.
In reaction to this culture shock and to wanting to express this as a theme on the role of the emotional as an aspect of identity, I put the heart, a symbol for the emotional self, on display and categorized it. But it was not just the heart of one categorized emotion, not just the romantic, nor the paternal, but rather the heart of complex identity. These hearts foreground love or openness on one level and yet mask this on another level. Such as the figure who holds up a heart. Is this a trophy or a revelation? Are the figures that hide a heart, lie on a heart, radiate or sing for a heart sincere or imitators?
In Singing for a Heart, the musician is both comic and tragic and is in a sense, a self-portrait of the emotional self.
"The heart... is "transplanted" into strange
places and used to represent a wide range of human
experience. The heart, in van Kerkhoff's hands is an
exciting and versatile image far from the slushy,
symmetrical "romantic" idea that is usually represents...
Central to van Kerkhoff's philosophy and way of
life is her belief that vulnerability is an achievement
to be aimed for rather than a sign of naivety..."