Amanda Koelman

Collective Member

Amanda Koelman, 1985, The Netherlands, lives and works in Amsterdam & Antwerp.

“I wanted to set free what I used.”

The work of Amanda Koelman, at its core, deals with life, not in the Apollonian sense of reasonable measure, but rather in the sense of the abstract, fierce, beautiful, and at times, violent world of Dionysus. A world built upon opposing extremes – birth and death, black and white, up and down. It is a world in which to know life, one must confront death, and then to know death, one must confront life. For it is through experiencing one, that one will know the other. 
Koelman’s work Icarus, draws upon the myth by the same name.

A story in which to escape Minos’ prison, the great architect Daedelus builds wings from wax and feathers so as to enable him and his son, Icarus, to escape. The story is usually perceived as a moral tale, wherein after their escape from the prison walls, the son neglects to take his father’s advice and flies too close to the sun. The sun’s rays then melt the wax and wings and so Icarus falls from his great height to his untimely death.

The story in such a light is frequently received as a tale of tragedy; a terrible price paid for freedom. However, if one were to look again from a Dionysian point of view, one would suddenly see the tale of Icarus, not as a tale of tragedy but rather as a tale ofspirit; a tale confronting the crossing over of energy from both life and death. A place of elation rather than tragedy; the breath of life from which Icarus flew so high, he experienced and saw the sun like no other. The shortness of his life thus becomes a story of a life fulfilled; freed from his imprisonment and energized by curiosity, he conquers the sky in order to know the sensation, of the risk of death for life and vice versa.