10 September - 30 October 2022
'CARE FULL', Art Utrecht, Utrecht
Opening  10th of September
Finissage 30the of October

'Desert Island'

19 May - 13 July 2022
Kunstpreis FBZart Award

"Reality is a finger print" is winner of for the 'FBZ Special Award' in Bochum, Germany

Winner will be announced 30th of June 2022

A visit is possible by appointment. Registration: Tel: 0234-32-28178 (Mon-Tue from 4-6 p.m., Wed-Fri from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.)

23 September - 27 November 2021
Live From Rijks

Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, NL

150 Years of Artistic Practice

3 November 2019
finissage Reality en lezing Wouter Kusters
18 september 2019 - 03 november 2019

Beautiful Distress House, Amsterdam, NL
Solo exhibition 'Reality'

opening 18 september 19.00 - 22.00

Beautiful Distress House,
Ms. van Riemsdijkweg 41a
1033 RC Amsterdam

16 June 2018 - 23 Spetember 2018
25 November 2017 - 7 January 2018
Beautiful Distress Kunstmanifestatie over waanzin

Group show by Beautiful Distress and Het Vijfde Seizoen at Nieuw Dakota

"Reality is a finger print"

23 November - 23 December 2017
Beautiful Distress Kunstmanifestatie over waanzin

Group show by Beautiful Distress and Het Vijfde Seizoen at De School

"It's cloudy inside"

Oktober 2016 -Januari 2017
Kings County Hospital

Artist in residence, Beautiful Distress, New York, USA

April 2016
Discovery Award 2016

‘Blue Hour’ got shortlisted for the LOOP Discovery Award.

29 November 2015 - 24 Januari 2016
Blue Hour

Bradwolff projects, Amsterdam, NL

'Blue Hour' is a collaboration with Merel Karhof

25th of April 2015

'Play within a play' has won the 'Honorable Mention Award' in the Experimental Short Competition at Nashville Film Festival (USA)

16 - 25 April 2015
Nashville Film Festival

Nashville, USA

'Play within a play'

21 - 30 December 2014
Donna E Liberta

Associazionne Culturale, Rome, IT


11 - 16 november 2014
Braunschweig International Film Festival

Braunschweig, DE

'Play within a play'

2 november 2014
Museumnacht - CineSonic

EYE, Amsterdam, NL

14 oktober 2014
uitkijk goes short

De UItkijk, Amsterdam, NL

17 July 2014

nternational Women's Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

'Play within a play'

29 March - 27 April 2014
Inner space/Outer space

Sign, Groningen, NL

'Inner Space/Outer Space'
Part of tour BNG Workspace project award 2012

11 February 2014
Best of the Fest: korte films van het International Film Festival Rotterdam

EYE, Amsterdam, NL

25 January 2014
Filmfestival rotterdam

Shorts 2014, Filmfestival Rotterdam, NL

22 September - 17 November 2013
KadS 2013

'Inner Space/Outer Space'
Part of tour BNG Workspace project award 2012

17 August 2013
27 July 2013
27 July - 14 August 2013

School of Creative Art’s eMerge Gallery, Australia

Collaboration with Jasper van den Brink

15 February 2013 - 7 April 2013

Premiere video installation 'Vessel'. 'Vessel' is a collaboration with video artist Jasper van den Brink

2 December 2012 - 20 June 2013

Museum de Paviljoens, Almere


This exhibition questions the concept of ‘one shared reality’
Annabel Simjouw

This exhibition questions the concept of ‘one shared reality’

By October 4, 2019

According to French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, the ways in which we try to comprehend psychosis is completely separated from what the person suffering from such a psychotic episode might experience as meaningful. This trying-to-understand will lead to a fundamental misunderstanding of the psychotic suffering and to the invalidation of the person experiencing psychosis. Trying to understand psychosis as an outsider often serves the function of covering up the experienced powerlessness in the confrontation with something that is essentially strange or different to us. If anything, Lacan argues, psychosis teaches us about the essence of being human instead of highlighting the shortcomings of so-called psychological processes or demonstrating an inadequate adaption of reality.

Why it would be so impossible to attempt to understand psychosis is also explained by Wouter Kusters in his article Fenomenologie van de Psychose (‘Phemenology of Psychosis’). By approaching psychosis from a phenomenological point of view, Kusters touches upon its most important themes. He refers to the topic of reality and psychosis, by giving the example of telepathy. It is not the question whether a psychotic thought wherein someone thinks he can read the minds of others is ‘truly’ possible. Psychotic telepathy takes place in a world that is so fundamentally different than the world experienced by non-psychotic people, that we can’t solely isolate telepathy from it and test it as a hypothesis in our reality. That’s why it is only meaningful to study these thoughts in the psychotic experience.

Reality by Yasmijn Karhof.

What is it like when your reality is viewed as less ‘real’? What defines our reality, and who decides whether your reality is healthy, unhealthy or even abnormal? These are questions Yasmijn Karhof addresses in the exhibition Reality, which she made during her stay as an artist in residence at King County Hospital, New York. The results of her residency are a large tapestry and an audiovisual installation with big blueprints hanging from the ceiling, showing photographs of the staff and patients. Karhof became intrigued by how reality was perceived by the staff and the patients that were housed in the hospital, and in this way she questions the way we experience reality altogether. It might for instance seem a bit ignorant to tell a man who is seeing people coming through the walls that what he is experiencing is not ‘real’. How could it not be his uttermost reality in this case? We cannot see what a person in psychosis might be experiencing, and this separates our reality from theirs. This however does not necessarily mean his reality is less real than ours.

Our grip on reality is tested immediately upon seizing these blueprints: there is no telling who of the people depicted is staff and who is patient. I find myself trying to figure out if I can tell one from the other but then decide that this is not the point of Reality. Why would I try to make a distinction when Karhof is showing us that there might not be such a thing as one ‘true’ shared reality?


Reality is a fingerprint by Yasmijn Karhof.

As you wander around the exhibition patients and employees of King County Hospital, with their voices coming from big speakers placed across the room, talk about what reality and losing a grip on it, means to them. As I sit down and start carefully listening to what is being said, the following quote sticks with me most:

‘I doubt that each and every one of us looks at an object and sees the exact same thing. The reality is different for all of us.’

It strikes me that the pressing message all of these unknown voices are trying to get across is that there is no such thing as one ‘real’ reality.

Reality by Yasmijn Karhof.

Karhof’s exhibition, in a certain way, embodies what the aforementioned phenomenological approach of psychosis tries to do as well: it addresses the topic of losing reality, without using theoretical concepts or complicated models that often do not emerge from experiences of patients themselves. Karhof does this by literally giving the patients a voice, playing their quotes over and over again into the vast space of the exhibition hall.

The exhibition Reality is on display until November 3, 2019 at Beautiful Distress House in Amsterdam.

Annabel Simjouw

AuthorAnnabel Simjouw

Annabel Simjouw (1994) studies Clinical Forensic Psychology and writes about art for Spiegeloog. Besides visiting musea she likes to read and cook, combining this into bookclub nights with friends.

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