What is duende?
The mythical sprite of ‘duende’ hunts the arts, as the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca elaborated on in his lecture ‘Theory and function of the duende’; to the artist, the spine-chilling sprite of duende cuts through artifice exposing the possibility that “ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head”. Face to face with death ‘duende’ channels the audience a bitter-sweet dilation of the mind’s eye; a heightened sense of reality as if you were seeing the world for the first time. As Nick Cave says “All love songs must contain duende. For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain… Duende lives in blue notes, in the break in a singer’s voice, in the scrape of resined horsehair hitting sheep gut”.
Duende is an independent self-organized artist-cooperative providing forty-two studios for independent artists practicing on a professional basis.
Duende is located in a former institute for professional technical education where thousands of Rotterdam’s citizens were trained as carpenters, bricklayers, motor mechanics, and numerous other technical professions.
This 1920’s era educational building, with a combined floor area of over 4000 m2, offers ideal artist studios with 4.5 m high ceilings, large windows and studios ranging from 40 to over 200 m2. The building span between two streets, with the smaller studios in the former classrooms of the three-story street-front blocks, and the larger studios in the former workshops spanning between the blocks.
Besides the permanent studios, Duende offers a residency program, providing three large studios with a separate living accommodation, available for foreign artists for a period of three months. Details here.
As an initiative Duende strives to stimulate discussion and reflection about art, beginning with our daily practice within Duende and stretching out globally. Plurality and flexibility as prepositions for an active debate and exchange of ideas, Duende functions as a platform, providing space and opportunity for international practitioners to communicate between local and international discourses. Duende actively cooperates with comparable artist-communities as well as local institutions; Tent., Witte de With, CBK as well as the museums and galleries. International connections grounded in a local context enable individual artist to contribute to, and communicate with, current developments in artistic practice.
Duende is member of RAiR (Rotterdam Artists in Residence).
Board of Duende cooperative (Vereniging Duende): Marleen van Wijngaarden (chairman), Ari Hodgson (treasurer), Peter Koole (secretary) and Kuin Heuff
Board of Duende foundation (Stichting Duende Aktiviteiten): Jack Segbars (chairman), Maarten Janssen (treasurer), Lieke Snellen (secretary)