We humans are more of a novel than a documentary, more of a painting than a blueprint.

Freedom is a key concept in the relationship between individual and group. Do you choose your own freedom or do you conform to the group, are you looking for the balance between liberal and social? It is a struggle between tearing yourself free and belonging to at the same time. To be apart and yet be part of something. Unique, but not all alone.

Freedom or captivity? Handicapped in a confined space that can be escaped through literature and art.

the steps of freedom

acrylverf op doek (2004)

A free interpretation and combination of Maslov’s pyramid and Sartre’s existentialism Five paintings, hung like a staircase, with each step showing a basic freedom necessary for a fully dignified existence.

From bottom to top:  free from hunger (food on the table), free from war and natural disasters (safety), free to shape your own appearance (responsible for your own body, your own identity), mental freedom (art, journalism, protesting, sports, theater , love, travel) and finally the choice for your own life….

Top step, huis clos, closed doors, Sartre’s play; three people in hell. Hell that’s the other. Our freedom forces us to choose constantly, that is hell.

Free from hunger

Food is richly served at the large table and the cow watches from a painting. Visible on the left are the surplus and the waste, of which a few can take a grain, while on the right the deprived are kept at a distance.


On the left the illusion of security, on the right the danger of war, violence and natural disasters. In the middle the political terror.  The war on the Balkans and the murder of Theo van Gogh at the time of painting this painting.


Individual freedom. Free to be who you want to be, free from discrimination because of appearance, race, gender, culture, age etc.

Spiritual freedom

Free to write and express your opinion, to start families, to make art, to make music, to take part in sports and travel, to commemorate, celebrate and demonstrate, all individually and in groups.

Freedom of choice

Freedom also entails the duty to choose, not to give in, not to let everything take its course, to take the other into account, to walk through the open door. Not choosing is also a choice.

Struggling with individual freedom

The individual, especially the artist, tends to see himself as unique in a world populated by nearly identical individuals. This urge for authenticity can lead to the ignoring of boundaries in order to be authentic, and in doing so can do violence to one’s own personality, or lead to the realization that authenticity is not for most people to the extent that we envision, which can lead to inner struggles. 

In religion, tradition prevails and everyone should be living the same old-fashioned life. Everything is experienced in a group and you should not be too unique. In science much, if not everything, is reduced to the general in which the individual has to find a place. After the initially dominant and leveling role of religion and science, nationalistic, regional and cultural differences are magnified again. Since Nietzsche, self-realization is mandatory, with Sartre authenticity prevails. Topics such as gender, skin color and individual freedom are topical. There is still a longing for the universal, but at the same time people are attached to particular individuality.