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Artist statement

My works often revolve around the themes of equality, emancipation, women’s rights and feminism. My art touches both contemporary as historical subjects. I create art with historical techniques about today’s issues. The techniques and media I use for my work are often very labour-intensive, like making handsewn tapestries or weaving with beads.

I often work with textiles and photography, but I don’t necessarily stick to those media. In the process of developing new projects, I consider every possible medium to see what fits best for the concept and content of the work-to-be. What I like about textiles and crafts is that there is an interesting historical connection to it. With every stitch sewn you connect the past with the present. I wrap up political statements and messages in soft layers of velvet, organza and other fabrics. By using these materials people are seduced to come closer to the works and to submerge themselves in the art. Despite the fact that the works are loaded with political content, they won’t scare away the visitor because of their harmless appearance.


– Joyce


My work is currently supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

Photo by Sabine Metz

Others about me

(August 2019)

“In her recent works Joyce Overheul reveals social structures and interaction behind that what sounds familiar. In January 2019 she travels to Tehran, Iran and visits the protest sites where women protested the mandatory hijab enforced by the government: on top of the utility boxes where young women protested against the regulations, triangular rooftops have been placed by the government in order to prevent people climbing on top of them in the future. Pictures of their surroundings have been transferred to fabric works made from organza and velvet, making the faces of people at the protest sites anonymous and making the spreading of people in public space more defined. Using soft materials, Overheul transforms the sometimes-harsh reality. This is also the case with the works from the Soft Series, scale 1:1 replicas of iconic weaponry: the Kalashnikov, handgun and brass knuckles. Despite the fact that these weapons are highly recognisable, they don’t resemble their originals anymore at all. The 2018-started project Bum Revisited addresses another loaded topic: the male behind. The absence of some types of bums indirectly reveals a difference in opinion on sexual orientation and culture. The works endorse a collective desire for meaning, but also show the loneliness of this process when human communication mainly takes place through materials, images and interfaces.

Joyce Overheul (1989, ‘s-Hertogenbosch) works with political sensitivities from the cultural undercurrents. Behaviour and manipulation are reoccurring themes in her work. After she obtained a master’s degree in Fine Art, her artistic practice took off in The Netherlands and abroad.”

– Anna Elisabeth Kruyswijk, Lauwer, The Hague, NL, August 2019


Photo by Sabine Metz
Photo by Benning & Gladkova
Photo by me


“Joyce Overheul (1989, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, NL) studied Fine Art at the Utrecht School of the Arts and later on earned her master’s degree in Artistic Research in 2012 at MaHKU. Her artistic practice mainly focuses on the use of textiles, photography and occasionally performance and video. The thematics of the works often involve equality, gender norms, emancipation, feminism and women’s rights.”

Others about me

(Foreword for the book ‘Let’s Get Political, October 2021)

“Let’s get political, with a title loosely based on the song by Olivia Newton John, is an exhibition of the work of Joyce Overheul at Museum de Fundatie – her first solo museum show, I am delighted to point out. Joyce Overheul graduated from Utrecht art school HKU in 2012, and is one of a generation of artists who have moved well beyond the romantic idea of art for art’s sake (l’art pour l’art). Her generation has no truck with the idea that art is somehow isolated in self-reflection, and thus constitutes a better, parallel universe. And a good thing too, I am tempted to say, because at a time when we face such huge challenges, as we all constantly stumble from one crisis to the next, and the only consensus is that lots of things need to be done differently, now more than ever we need the power of art. Museum de Fundatie ventured into this territory earlier this year with exhibitions on a hundred years of activist art, from the Berlin Dadaist and photomonteur John Heartfield to Sticks and Typhoon, and Whose Is The World?, featuring thirty contemporary visual artists who seek to influence our lives through their work. Joyce Overheul had a terrific piece in that exhibition (Utility Box on Enghelab Street, 2019), which we have since acquired for De Fundatie’s collection. 

Joyce’s work is witty, skilled and often soft and inviting. It seems so easy to succumb to her seductive art, until you are hit by her sharp, piercing observations, which mercilessly expose human naivety and lust for power. It is easy to draw parallels with John Heartfield and, like him, Joyce Overheul is a child of her time. This makes her exhibition at De Fundatie at this moment so very interesting. In Joyce Overheul, the partiality of John Heartfield – leftwing, communist, uncompromising and faithful to an ideology – meets a communicator who seeks nuance, and has an eye for the individual and for personal choises.

To John Heartfield Let’s Get Political meant a world communist revolution. To Joyce Overheul it means awakening individuals, rejecting conventions and oppression, and focusing on one important thing: awareness and a willingness to take action informed by our humanity. This book includes a conversation I had with Joyce Overheul.

I would like to thank her for the collaboration, and for the faith she place in us.

– Ralph Keuning,
Director Museum de Fundatie


Photo by Marjolein Sponselee

Others about me

(as published in “STARTERS”, Metropolis M, issue no.4, 2012)

“Every year Metropolis M portrays some promising artists who studied at the art academies. This time the students emanate from HISK Gent, KABK The Hague, MaHKU Utrecht and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.

Joyce Overheul – MaHKU, Utrecht
Joyce Overheul has recently graduated from maHKU in Utrecht. Born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands in 1989, she is one of the youngest fine art MA alumni in the Netherlands. 

Overheuls practice spins around her ongoing research into participation and social media, while in the broader sense she examines the borders of ‘the private’ and ‘the public’ in the everyday life. Her interest derives from observing the ways how people act in the social networks ignoring the fact that it’s a semi-public space, and what drives them to act so. It’s notable that as a hobby Overheul is obsessed with taxidermy, which could be read as the way of testing the scope of life and death, or turning the life creature into it’s model, thus privatising the existence. 

The mass psychology as it extends through the phenomena of social networking and self-representation is always the core of the artist’s work even though it is not always placed in the internet. Through her practice Joyce activates unconscious mechanisms which motivate people to interact with artificial situations she creates, actively provoking an individual to participate in her work without being aware of it. 

Her social experiments has been surprisingly successful in terms of audience participation. For example her recent ongoing work The World’s Most Exclusive Membership is an invitation to a passer by to join the nonexistent VIP community through web registration, which artist promoted in the public arena by leaving specially produced clues, attracted over 15.000 visitors to the related website. Some of her ‘vanity fair victims’ passed the procedure of registration up to 40 times desperately filling in the proposed registration form as in fact the artist gave them no chance to really register. 

Speaking of other Joyce’s works it is intriguing how she makes people participate in the most impossible projects: starting from sending her their medicine and coming to giving her their personal details not even asking what she would further do with what she got or even giving her a permission to film their private life for 24 hours without cutting out the most intimate moments made to be shown in a public space. 

Joyce Overheul is still very young and her practice is yet to be developed, but her constant curiosity in how things work and the nature of her projects is as promising as I imagine could be Francis Alÿs or Gianni Motti in her age.”

Photo by Luuk Huiskes