"The series themselves, the Europeans, the Hannah Arendts, the Monkey Kings, are, besides inspired on the intentions as stated above, also long term experiments all of their own. The stories of (hu)man, the idea of -European, western, white- identity are a strong starting point for these series, but after I have started the work, they become inspirations of themselves, a guide to how to abstract a basically realistic portrait, how to bring out of the same face multiple things that all ring true for that story, that idea, the person this face is said to have been. I will never go truly abstract, as that cannot hold my interest for long, but I want to break the shackels of realism, bring the work beyond that. After a while, it is the forms and colours that dictate how I will develop the work, not the ideas about story and identity, European-ness and humanness, or how these tie into, or are mirrored by, stories of chineseness or otherness. ( I do not think Machiavelli’s thoughts on power would have been strange in the Chinese context of any era. Or anywhere else on the world, for that matter. His words on the uses of power over a society are for me a token of how humans are similar all over the globe, and throughout time. I only think that the current communist party of China might have had Machiavelli bow his head in respect. Or at least, he would in the vision that I have of him, which is a vision coloured by the European story that has been woven around the person of Machiavelli and his conscious or unconscious followers - like Catherina de Medici, for instance)
In my latest finished work, Machiavelli comes together with Catharina de Medici, stars of European power at the cusp of enlightenment, this era that is thought of as being so very singularely and definitively European, wielding a greek helmet amidst the confusion that the adagium ‘There is no alternative’ illicits. Is this Europe? Is there no alternative? Is it European to think there is but one way? Is this enlightenment? Is this how you handle heretics of doctrine? Is this our story? Is this power? Is this what we want to be? Is this fleeting? "