Saskia de Brauw was born in the Netherlands and began her career in modeling at a young age. Her decision to go to art school brought about a hiatus from the world of fashion, and during the decade-long interim she developed work that incorporated elements of photography and performance art, as well as text and graphics. The focus of her work centers on conceptions of space, the passage of time, and cities. Greatly inspired by the writings of French author Georges Perec, de Brauw creates process-based performative works that explore how people inhabit urban and domestic spaces, and particularly the sundry objects of everyday existence that they leave behind.
De Brauw attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy where she studied photography and textile design, and many of her early performances took place in and around Amsterdam. In 2010 she decided to revisit her work as a fashion model, initially out of a desire to finance her artistic endevours. Within a few months she had landed multiple fashion magazine covers – not least of which was Carine Roitfeld’s last edition of Paris Vogue – and was working with esteemed photographers including Paolo Roversi, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, Steven Meisel and Karl Lagerfeld. Her immediate commercial success as a model precipitated constant travel all over the world, which in turn acted as a catalyst for her ongoing project of scanning objects entitled The Accidental Fold.
De Brauw carries a small scanner with her on her travels in order to document discarded ephemera of daily life – from torn papers, cards, and ribbons, to feathers and orange peel – forgotten remains that, despite their seeming inconsequence, capture and contain the proof of life, in de Brauw’s own words, the “evidence of presence.”
There is a pointed beauty about revelations based on our immediate physical world. De Brauw’s works are abstract and often symbolic, though they are based on simple observations and committed to visual clarity. She speaks extensively on the value and importance of meditation, repetition, and slowness in her process, and this is perhaps also what influences the decisive simplicity of her art.
Working as a model is high-speed and my own work in every sense is super slow and doubtful. Time plays an important role. My physical body is taking shape in space and I see that my ideas about how we influence space with our movement is really “matter of fact.” We leave traces with our energy and vibrations. We leave something of ourselves behind everywhere were we pass. This is what always fascinates and inspires me.
Eugenie Dalland – 2014