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Anika Hochstenbach graduated in 2021 from St. Joost School of Arts and Design in Breda. As a painter and drawer she mainly focuses on the human body and skin. In the colours, the imperfections, the curves and pits of the human figure, Anika searches for tactility and captures it in fine detail.

“I always wanted to be a classical painter. I read a lot about the Old Masters and their way of making paint, sketching and their way of painting portraits or landscapes. I really wanted to paint realistically and learn and apply those techniques.”

In her works, Anika is seeking a moment of peace, a moment of just ‘being’. To achieve this, she consciously chooses her subjects and photographs them. These are often people in her environment that she knows well, like her sisters, her partner and herself. While painting, she talks much with her subjects: the personal relation makes the work full of life. By showing an openness to the (sometimes naked) body, Anika tries to break these things open to be discussed: not only our insecurities, but also pleasant things that we experience with our body.

“My work is kind of a diary of the people around me. Sometimes in my life I spend more time with a certain person. Therefore, I might depict them in my work. A bond with the people I portray is essential: I can put a lot more into such a painting.”

She puts the people she paints in an intimate bedroom setting; a place where we feel safest. Plants play an increasingly important role in her compositions. She positions them next to the people portrayed. To her, plants enhance the intimate bedroom feeling and create a peaceful environment. Anika is also fascinated by the tactile surface of the plant: the veins, stomata and stems are like human skin, which Anika magnifies in all details and imperfections.

“It differs how I start painting. I am still looking for a balance between a spontaneous looseness and a classic, technical approach. I hope that my work forms a kind of unity within those different ways of working.”

(21/02 - 25/02, 2022) written by Linda Köke