In the silence and exclusivity of our own home, we watched TV in April of 2020. The consciousness slipped in that our habits, way of life and how we interact with each other should / was going to change. How often do I actually touch my face? Do I also touch my mouth? How many people have I actually met today? Can I still visit my parents this weekend?

Kristin Stobbink was also suddenly at home for days, looking at the TV and out the window. She ordered white cotton. “Even make a mouth mask” she told herself. Maybe we should all go out with a face mask tomorrow? A mouth mask, what does that actually look like? Does it still need a filter and could I buy it somewhere? Is there a high chance that I will get sick? Who do I actually know with health problems, where do they live? Is that already a red area? How many sick people are there?

While Stobbink is in the shop to pay, she speaks to a somewhat anxious cashier. She said that she is an informal caregiver and that this job is necessary for their income, she looks with sad eyes. “My husband would not survive if I infected him with Corona”.

A week became months and the white cotton, bought with the intention of making masks, turned into an image, a portrait.

When looking at Stobbink’s work, staring into human eyes. The vivid eyes sometimes look familiar, startled or lost in oblivion. Under the eyes there is a stylized shape, limited to the shape of a face mask. A striking stylized, abstract shape of a linocut with an even dark blue color. Behind the linocut is a shadow of Chinese ink. The Chinese ink has the property to run, it branches, fades, discolored and finds its own way. Chinese ink changes at different stages of the drying process and could be described as a very quirky and organic material. A material that searches and determines its own path. This has also become apparent from the Stobbink series, for example, no rendering is the same and the maker is more of a regulating bystander in the formative phase.

The Chinese ink represents the virus, an invisible mist that keeps dancing in a room and secretly escapes. The face masks represent the source of the Corona virus, the wild animals that are sold on the black market in China. In this representation it concerns a turtle, owl, wild cat and a pangolin. The Chinese ink comes from Mainland China, bought by Stobbink herself when she traveled through China during her Minor for her studies in 2012. The name stamp that Stobbink had made is not a Japanese name stamp but Chinese, in Mandarin.

These works are supplemented with a hand-printed and signed certificate that is attached to the back of the work.

White cotton, watercolor with Chinese ink, linocut, Chinese name stamp, wood panel.