Lily van der Stokker has developed an extensive and idiosyncratic oeuvre composed of exuberant, decorative drawings and gigantic wall paintings. Her work refers to beauty, friendship and friendliness, as well as everyday chores like house-cleaning, clearing up, and visits to the doctor. Her work makes no attempt at either irony or cynicism.
Often incorporating words and phrases, Van der Stokker’s work is firmly rooted in the tradition of conceptual art. Similar to her conceptual forbears (Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Barry), van der Stokker uses text to explore the essence of art, although as she does so, asks very different questions. Can artists show unsuccessful work? Is it alright for art to be untrue? Or funny and pretty?
I am trying to be a friendly person and my art has to be about that. I like the colors to be bright and cheap looking so that I can combine my conceptualism with pleasure.
— Lily van der Stokker in conversation with John Waters
Van der Stokker’s visual language of flowers, looping lines, clouds and curlicues in bold, bright colors, could be interpreted as naive and girly. With this, she questions widely-held notions of what constitutes ‘feminine’. Her work can be placed in the tradition of feminist art, which does not conform to prevailing standards of good taste. As such, she often exploits concepts that are ‘banned’ from contemporary art, such as the frivolous and decorative.