Studio Rik Versteeg
Drievriendenstraat 26
3014 JS Rotterdam

Cell: +316 30728245

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Vase with Twelve Flowers, 2023
The Girl with a Balloon, 2023
Campbell Soup Cans, 2023
Stumps and Sky, 2023
The Girl with a Pearl, 2023

Just Stop Oil!

Tomato soup, mashed potatoes. Glue and red glop.

In 2022 activist protests have been focused on widely admired art, carried out by protestors demanding action on climate change. While wearing t-shirts with anti-oil slogans, the activists target masterpieces that are so valuable and one-of-a-kind, to get one message across. Unless industrialized nations act quickly and radically to cut carbon emissions and stop all new oil and gas projects, the world will fall to pieces. 

None of the works targeted have had lasting damage as many are covered by glass. The climate activists are seemingly targeting the most famous works not to damage them, but to draw media attention to the lasting damage of the climate crisis. Directors of musea and galleries around the world are “deeply shaken” by the attacks. The activists throw mashed potatoes, tomato soup, and other substances on the artworks and glue themselves on the walls or the frames of the artworks. Most galleries and musea are being tight-lipped about the attacks, to avoid more attention to the protests.

Do I not condone the attacks on the artworks, it surely raises the question of what is valuable, and how this relates to general social issues. For this series, we choose to replicate some famous artworks and photograph them in an all-black on-black, oil-covered setting.

Photography, concept, set design

Rik Versteeg

Photography Assistant

Jo van den Assem