Artist Madeleine Berkhemer (1973-2019) graduated in fashion at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.From 1995 to 1999 she was Martin Margiela’s assistant.The physical nature of her work dates from her work in the fashion world. Berkhemer became known in the late nineties with her sensual installations created from colorful tattered tights.With those tights, stretched into long threads, she weaved monumental webs in museum rooms and galleries.
She played with the conventions of female eroticism, her work always had a sexual connotation, it teases and makes the beholder feel a guilty. Her sculptures, drawings and performances are defined by the heterogeneity of its materials and styles. It is an investigation of the dimensions of time and space and a radical examination of social and economic conditions in which she ruthlessly employs her own body. In doing so she exposed herself to a voyeurism that she herself initiates, in order at the same time to exert control over it and to keep her work at a distance.
In her performances she brought her alter egos Milly, Molly and Mandy to life. She often photoshoped these pin-up girls with different characters and different colors together in one image, like the three graces. Berkhemer: ‘I hope people just enjoy my work, I don’t care if they get excited about it or not. As long as they like it.’