Karin van Dam

Karin van Dam’s work shows a great love of materials. This is based on her drawings: ‘At first I drew two-dimensionally, and from there I went on to make collages of miscellaneous forms and rubbed pastels onto them. Pastel is enthralling; it sucks you in, like velvet. That’s how the material aspect of my work began.’ The drawings, despite their flat surface, are no less spatial and tactile than her sculptural installations, in which cuddly textiles are combined with industrial materials.

Travelling, be it a journey by train in her own country or a weeklong road trip on another continent, is a great source of inspiration for her. During a trip through Canada, Karin stayed for one day in a ‘hole residency’, a hole dug into the ground. ‘At first I didn’t really feel like going down into it and sitting there, but I finally accepted the challenge. There was an awful lot to see. At some four metres below the surface, the cross-section of the earth was a city in itself. Caterpillars were crawling upwards, falling back down and starting all over again. I knotted roots together for them, like a network of roads, at which point a traffic jam of caterpillars formed.’ Her fascination for architectural structures and the resourcefulness of nature converged there at an unexpected moment. In the drawings she has made since then, the dark, claustrophobic atmosphere of the hole in ground can be felt but we also see recesses in them, like hopeful bundles of light in the distance.

• Recent exhibitions:  2019 • Nettles and Caterpillars.


Karin van Dam (1959, NL) who lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netheralnds, was educated at the Koninklijke Academie voor Kunst en Vormgeving in Den Bosch and graduated in 1987. She has exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions in Pakistan, Canada, China, France, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, United States, and The Netherlands.

Her solo exhibitions include: ‘To dwell in pitch black pearls’ at the Univeristy of Lethbridge Art Gallery in Lethbridge in 2017, ‘Born in a Balloon’ in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2012 and ‘Interventie #5. Bumping Tumble’ at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 2008. Group exhibitions include: ‘Karachi Biënnale’ in Karachi in 2019, ‘DE LINE UP’ at Centraal Museum in Utrecht in 2018, ‘Rafelranden van Schoonheid’ at Textielmuseum in Tilburg in 2017 and In/Outsource at the AMNUA Museum in Nanjing in 2014.

From 1991 until present Karin received several grants from the Mondriaan Fund.

Her work is included in the collections of SNS Reaal, Textielmuseum, Tilburg, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, ‘Beeldspoor’ Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Centraal Museum, Fries Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Collectie Pieter Sanders, UMC, Gemeente Utrecht.

The collaboration between Karin and Galerie Bart dates back to 2019.

• view complete cv as pdf.

Recent press

2017 •

00.09 Palet Magazine no. 390 De bouwstenen van Karin van Dam by Merel van den Nieuwenhof

08.05 Metropolis M De strijd tussen licht en donker in de cacaofabriek by Liza Voetman

2015 •

01.10 PZCt Kunstenares verbindt diepte van de zee met hoogte van de toren by Nico Out


Karin van Dam