On Victorian and Oriental Women, 2008

For this series Broekman chose fragments of famous paintings from Victorian and Orientalist periods. She had them printed on canvas, which she ‘painted’ over with embroidery. The flower motives were originally embroidered by hand on tablecloths and curtains by many women in Europe. In the Atelier these motives were cut out piece by piece and arranged on the printed canvas.

What we see is a world full of beauty, purity and simplicity. Simultaneously there is a sultry atmosphere, the scene is erotically charged. In Victorian times the ideal woman was virgin, subservient, powerless and incapable. Broekman zooms in on this male ideal of women. According to her this erotic connotation has nothing to do with true female sexuality. The paintings are icons of desire, outlined after the fantasy of man of those days. Even in our times this ideal still provokes our imagination. Sometimes it even seems that women themselves contribute to it. Which young girl doesn’t like to dress herself like a princess or harem queen?