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Takeover #200 Milena Anna Bouma

Milena Anna Bouma: Instagram / Website

#200 (04/04 - 08/04, 2022) written by Linda Köke

Doing your laundry, going camping and brushing your teeth will not be the same after having seen Milena Anna Bouma’s works. She graduated in 2018 from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Her works take inspiration from daily objects like a laundry rack, a dog bone or a loaf of bread. She uses these as inspiration for material experiments that spark new combinations and search for other possibilities and functions of objects. How can two materials or objects supplement, challenge or enhance each other? Think of a tent made from a wooden plastic, or a life-sized dog sculpture covered in the classic red-white-and-blue toothpaste. These strange combinations invite us viewers to look at things differently and ask questions about the materiality and aliveness of daily things.

“I want everything I make to be relatable to the viewer. That is why I often use recognisable objects. I don’t want my work to just be understandable to people with an art education. I try to achieve this by carefully choosing daily objects and materials as the base of my work; things that everybody knows.”

Though her works and installations originate from a primarily formal interest, there is also a more current thread running through her choice of materials. The objects that she uses are often cheaply and en masse produced. “Many things are changing in the world right now,” says Milena. “This will definitely have an effect in the future on what’s available in materials and objects.”  

“I can scroll endlessly on the internet in search of interesting objects or images. I collect many images, print them and hang them on the wall of my studio: like a representation of what’s inside my head.”

In her search of these inspirations, Milena is especially drawn to daily objects with grids and skeleton-like structures, like umbrella frames or laundry racks. The spaces between the ribs of the objects are open, but resemble something animalesque at the same time. She often thinks of her work in an anatomical way: where would the stomach, the brain or the skin of an object be?  

“What I love about making art is that there are no set rules; I can determine all my own rules and defy them if I want to. Freedom to do whatever I want and being able to reinvent my work, that works well for me.”

Milena will take us through her studio the upcoming week, showing some of the things that she has currently been working on and taking us into her journey of material experiment. She will also share some of her earlier works, as well as the archive of inspiration that she keeps in her studio and is reworking into a catalogue.

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