Colourful social networks
Joke Robaard, Long Suit (1998-2004)
Museum De Paviljoens regularly commissions artists to contribute to the visual historiography of Almere. In 1998, this commission went to Joke Robaard. Robaard presented an enormous composite photograph strip ‘cartoon’, 25 metres long, entitled Long Suit.1 The story revolves around three central figures, to which every detail in the photograph refers: Bastiaan (volunteer at the museum), Jane (the granddaughter of Guus, the museum attendant) and Wouter (the son of the secretary of Museum De Paviljoens).
Robaard portrayed groups of people who were directly or indirectly connected with the three young people. By means of colour-coded clothing, Robaard distinguished different categories of extras: relatives are dressed in white, while friends wear yellow clothes, designed by ‘SO by alexander van der slobbe’. Outside of this ‘warm network’, Robaard photographed professionals from the cultural life of Almere. In addition to the staff and board of Museum De Paviljoens, she also involved the aldermen of Youth and Education with the project.2 Everyone who collaborated on the portrait is mentioned in the credits, even those who were absent at the time, e.g. the architects of Museum De Paviljoens.
The result is a panoramic picture with a cinematographic feel to it, composed of separate scenes. Along the length of the print, the arrangement with its clear ‘reading direction’, the main characters who appear in different scenes, the integrated texts and the vertical markings are strongly reminiscent of the Bayeux Tapestry.3 Complementary to the photo material, Robaard represents the invisible network connecting the main characters and the extras in a diagram that shows the complex social structure. Even the dogs were not left out.
1. The specimen in the Almere Collection is one of an edition of multiples.
2. Different categories of the staff and board members of Museum De Paviljoens wear red, pale blue and beige, respectively; the aldermen wear dark red; and sponsor FE NOB wears dark brown.
3. The Bayeux Tapestry (c.1070-1080) is an embroidered tapestry of 50 cm x 70 m, depicting, as in a comic strip, scenes that tell the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings (England, 1066).
Joke Robaard, Long Suit
Joke Robaard, b. 1953, Meppel, the Netherlands
Long Suit, 1998-2004
photograph on vinyl, diagram, DVD
photograph 15 cm x 404 cm
commissioned in 1998, purchased in 1998 & 2004, Museum De Paviljoens