By Anne Seidman and Anuradha Vikram
Alex Jacobs and Ellemieke Schoenmaker are an artist duo called V&B, based in Rotterdam, but was founded in 2007 in Los Angeles. Their residency at 18th Street Arts Center, where they are creating a new body of work for an exhibition at the Torrance Art Museum, marks a return to the city where their collaboration originated. They remark that “When we started our collaboration as a duo six years ago we were also in Los Angeles, so this city has a special place in our hearts. For us this place is very exotic compared to Rotterdam. The weather has an influence on everything from the plants you see in the streets, to the way houses are built and the color and light in everyday life.” Their new works reflect the color palette and the free conscience of Los Angeles, absorbed in their months of immersion here.
V&B are artists whose interest in content or subject matter sets them apart from the mainstream of Dutch painting, which is largely interested in surface and material. Initially collaborating as “Villeroy & Boch,” V&B assumed their collaborative name from a well-known housewares company active throughout Europe as a means of appropriating the social status and personal style that the corporate mark conveys. That choice reflects their interest in consumption as a social phenomenon, as their decision to rename the collaboration with initials points to their investment in ambiguity as a critical position.