Suzanne Jongmans Uses Recycled Materials to Recreate Dutch Renaissance

Transparent packing materials, plastic sheets, bubble wrap, foam rubber or vintage clothes, Dutch sculptor and costume designer Suzanne Jongmans latest project Mind Over Matter came to her mind after running out of fabric for a model’s costume she was creating, she stumbled upon some packing foam which she crafted into the shape she wanted.

The photo portraits of Suzanne are in the tradition of the 15th, 16th and 17th century. The work refers to the paintings of the ‘old masters’ such as Rembrandt, Holbein the Younger and Rogier van der Weyden.

Suzanne Jongmans’ work is interdisciplinary; she is a coupeuse, sculptor and a costume designer. Then, as a photographer, she converts the three-dimensional images to the flat surface. She uses packaging materials such as foam and foam rubber to make her clothes. Suzanne uses this foam so refined that the foam just looks like silk, it is beautiful on the skin and it works as a protective shield for her models.

From the moment she discovered the potential of the foam, she developed a new way of making costumes: she sculpts her designs. The traditions of sculpting and costume designs come together in her serene photographs.

The material and tradition enter into a complex relationship; a hood of foam rubber is at the same time modern as a reference to the portraits from the Golden Age. The material is meant as protection – but at the same time very refined. Letters and symbols on the packaging material emphasize reuse and refer to the protection it offers to sensitive and delicate surfaces.

With her way of looking, Suzanne adds value to simple packaging material. It is as if you can almost touch the past in its interpretations of old masters. Suzanne ‘s works are a tangible history of these historical portraits and connect with her own childhood. She uses the foam in her costumes as her mother and grandmother used to make clothes: with attention and love.

The use of residual material is also a reaction to the present and the mass consumption that surrounds us. “Most people throw away foam rubber, but like a child I see the diamond in a stone.” This produces unbelievably beautiful portraits.