#Team2 | Laura Bolscher

Bachelor’s in Fine Art - Minerva Art Academy, Groningen | Master’s in Fine Arts - Sandberg Intituut, Amsterdam | Master of Art in Education - Breitner Academy, Amsterdam


"I research play in a society where there is little room to play"

I have been working as a visual artist since 2013 and make participatory objects and installations; constructions of wood, colour and language with which I arrange encounters and conversations between strangers. Since 2018, I have been teaching at the art academy and at preschools, which has given me a new perspective on my visual practice.

Spaces where the audience can meet each other
I began to take an interest in how I can integrate education into my artistic practice. The social aspect of my practice, working with people, is always most important to me. If I compare art with education, there is always an audience present in education, whereas in art this is usually only the case when the work is being presented. In my work, I involve an audience straight away. In this way, I create spaces where the audience can meet and enter into conversation with each other. When teaching, I do this within the boundaries of a school. With my visual work, those spaces can be present in the exhibition space, but preferably in the public space or immediately behind the front door, next to you on the couch. 
The Art & Society programme provides me with the time, money, trust and space to be able to conduct artistic research with total focus. The room for reflection within the programme – through coaching interviews and in discussion with the group – bring new perspectives that I could not have foreseen on my own. In this way, I hope to be able to give more direction to the singularity of my practice; to be able to settle on paths that have not yet been discovered. From a practice that manoeuvres at the interface of art and education to one that is even more firmly rooted in society.

Turning bigger ideas into reality together
The collective aspect of the programme is also extremely important. It is necessary to be able to step outside the confines of the boxes in which we have been trained. Collectively, you can take bigger steps; we can do more work together and thus turn bigger ideas into reality. Moreover, I am curious what we can bring about as a collective, what new ways of thinking (together), working (together) and sharing (together) we can develop. 
I research how play is interwoven with our lives and how I can stimulate play with my work. Play serves no purpose other than to play. I research play in relation to how we learn, learning through play, in which non-goal-oriented personal development is the primary focus. I research play in a society where there is little room to play because of the hustle and bustle and organised nature of life. I see an opportunity herein for art to be a place for adults to break free from the control or rules of society. This is how I want to use my work as a playground for adults. Work in which your intrinsic motivation encourages you to play without you even noticing it.

I hope to have consolidated my practice by July with a more collective practice that spreads across the boundaries of disciplines. A practice that does not take place in the white cube or black box, but in the real world outside. Outside on the street, inside in the living room or somewhere in your head. Moreover, I hope to have set up my project in such a sustainable way by July that although it will not be finished by then, it can enter a fruitful second phase.

Interview met Laura

Have we forgotten how to play? In our busy lives, we prefer to maintain control over every aspect of our lives. That makes it difficult to relinquish that control and to just be in the moment and play – like a child – again; without a goal in mind, simply playing. According to visual artist Laura Bolscher (30), art can create the physical or mental space to be able to do that once again. ‘Art gives me the space to play professionally and in that way to find peace and come up with new ideas. I also want to make that possible for others. That is why I try to create such a space for my audience with participative works using language, objects and installations.’ Laura finds it important that the receiver is the main focus in her work. ‘Art is much too often about the work in relation to the artist. I find it much more interesting to reflect on what happens when someone comes into contact with the work. The audience is actually the main focus in education and during the Master of Education in Arts,

I was able to experiment a lot with the audience within an educational context. The audience here is a group of people who come to learn something and thus undergo a development. I think that is an interesting attitude and I therefore try to stimulate that with my work.’  In the AHK Culture Club, Laura is working at the intersection of art and education on a project to stimulate playing for adults. ‘I am participating in the Art & Society programme because I believe that art is not only something that is meant to be in museums and theatres. It should also be more firmly integrated into society. That is why I am mainly occupied as a creator with how I can make my work in and for society, instead of in a studio before subsequently exhibiting it in society. In this way, I want to create a space in which adults can undergo a development and learn something in a playful way.’ 

(by: Sjoerd Ponstein)