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Woman in Divorce Battle on Tour 2004
Studio 1.1 Gallery, London, 13 Feb - 24 Mar 04

It may sound saccharine, but Cees Krijnen makes art for his mother Greta Blok. Since her divorce 15 years ago, her ex-husband has herassed her emotionally and financially so, to enrich her life, Krijnen arranges for useful or luxurious things to be made. With the help of the Cartier Foundation, he created a gold-plated lawn sprinkler set with a diamond; with the New York label UP&CO, he produced a gold leather battle suit that has an 'Ambassador of Divorced Woman of the Netherlands' insignia. For Studio 1.1, which is a dildo shop as well as a gallery, Krijnen designed a set of dildos painted with blue skies and fluffy, Tiepolo-like clouds.

The performative elements of his project are the most interesting, though. A video shows him being assessed for the Prix de Rome; when the judges visited his studio, he introduced them to his mother as though they were prospective partners. It's great to see artists like Pistoletto waver under such scrutiny. Krijnen's clever project has the capacity to run and run in unpredictable directions; his Prix de Rome prize money, for instance, paid for his mother's new central heating system.

Sally O'Reilly
London Edition, March 3-10, 2004
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