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XIII Leeuwarden
Artists’ Exchange

Chiara Pastoor

Filmmaker, photographer, writer and self-portrait artist
Gender freedom in modern day Europe

This project strand offers short residency opportunities in partner cities for 30 emerging artists. Each UEO city partner will send two artists on a residency to another partner’s city of a different art form, thereby seeking to enrich their professional practice through inter-disciplinary residencies. Artists are chosen on the basis of having demonstrated an interest in the hosting city’s Arts & Society contemporary European theme. They must also practice a different art form from that of the hosting city’s public event. The project offers the emerging artists the opportunity to travel without the pressure to produce work and ideally to experience UEO’s public events.

Chiara Pastoor will travel to Derry/Donegal

Nelke Mast will travel to Dublin.

Artists’ Statement

There has always been this strong desire to conceptualise and visualise stories that, somehow, force me personally to be more honest and seek out a deeper level of vulnerability. Creating imagery and film on the border of reality and fiction has created this little world where sensitive themes and personal events can just exist freely. I always saw it as a non- judgemental safe haven, for myself and my audience.

You can easily recognise this reality from your own, but it tastes just a little different. It makes heavy things lighter and shame a little more colourful and it opens up this space where we can look at our own reflection and talk about what we try to look away from. And then maybe also laugh a little at ourselves and at how wonderfully strange our desires and pleasure can be.

I once read that, maybe the kindest thing we could ever do, is show others that we are human. And in a way, I keep hearing this sentence whilst creating. It motivates me to create work about sensitivity, craving, shame and grief. A little more honest and a little more surrealistic in every new project. And about topics that are already so deeply integrated in our daily lives and social activities. For instance, about the mesmerising ritual of being pleasured by yourself. Isn’t that already an art piece in itself? The way we surrender to our own bodies, that deep self awareness? But also the way we struggle with who we are and who we want to be, sometimes blindly addicted to our habits and imaginary sense of control. Feeling shame when stretching our arms for external validation, feeling vulnerable when we don’t. The heartbreaking reality of finding grief in the smallest corners of our lives. You lose a loved one and you drown in grief when you see your first grey hair.

Artists’ Biography

Chiara Pastoor is a Dutch filmmaker, photographer, writer and self-portrait artist. After studying fashion / art direction in Amsterdam, she continued her studies at the art academy (fine arts, photography) and the film academy. In 2022 she graduated with her short film debut. ‘Directed by’ is an experimental film showing a collection of erotic, surrealistic and humorous self-portraits. Chiara takes agency of her body and sexuality and indulges in self-pleasure. Reclaiming the power as both the director and the woman in the image, therefore redefining self-portraits within the notions of the male, female and internalised male gaze. Chiara is currently working on two new short films and a self-portrait photography book, showcasing the fluid relationship between self-love and self-hatred.

More info

Artist’s website