Laurence Herfs (1994) is a visual artist, essayist and academic researcher born in Heemskerk. She obtained a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Royal Academy of Arts The Hague in 2021, an RMA in Arts and Culture from Leiden University in 2020 and a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Utrecht in 2015. Herfs has exhibited across the Netherlands with her most recent show being her graduation show at the Royal Academy in The Hague. She has also been awarded several grants and prizes including the Uhlenbeck Conference Grant (2019) or the United Nation Gender and Equality Award (2016).

 

With her work, Herfs investigates the female body in transformation. She interweaves female voices in mythology and art history with personal contemporary imagery in order to facilitate a polyphonic cross-temporal dialogue about the ways in which the female body has been allowed to take space. She connects and merges pre-existing images and archetypes with representations of her own body, because those pervasive images of womanhood are personal to her: adored, absorbed, internalised and finally transformed under its pressures, they speak of how to be and where wandering eyes and hands might go.

 

As the scholar Henri Lefebvre once said, space is socially produced, and this goes both for the space allowed to the female body under a historically patriarchal rule, and for the urban spaces built under that same system. In that fashion, the brightly coloured and meticulously rendered depictions of female oppression and survival that Herfs creates, become a metaphor for the many ways in which entire groups have been forced to adapt to environments that were not made for them.