About Youri Appelo
by Johannes Kronenberg
If I would have to choose three words to describe Youri, they will be: trustability, warmness, initiative-power. I know Youri as being engaged in a social manner both focussed on the individual and the bigger notion of humanity. A great ability of empathy accompanies his way of working. One could ask oneself why this is so important to have? I think that exactly this is what the world needs more than ever before: individuals who surpass their own selfishness and truly are open to meet the other and the world. This is exactly what you will receive when starting a collaboration with Youri.
Remarkable about Youri - especially combined with the stated characteristics above - also is the gift to always succeed. It does not really matter what Youri starts, he will finish it in good order.
If you start to collaborate together, you will have to take into account that Youri is active in a wide range of initiatives. This means that it could happen that you might be connected with totally new ways of doing and thinking, which I think is a great plus. Visionary skills are also present. There will always be a prepared plan to work on, which makes working together, shaping and re-shaping of the content a real joy.
My practice involves several activities such as curating, art mediation and conducting research. My main interest goes out for subjects within the political, social and ecological/environmental domains, urgent issues we face in the 21st century and specifically artistic practices that transcend the traditional borders of art. In my opinion contemporary art is of an irreplaceable value for the world we live in and is providing us with solution for the problems we face today. In the contrary to the idea that the value of art is mainly financially, I would like to focus more on the artistic, social and innovative values of art and the idea that at large art functions as an agent of change.
Within my curatorial endeavours I include and present practices, artworks and or other gestes that discuss and reflect on specific urgent issues, questions or developments. These forms of art can shed a different light on issues, for example on gender inclusiveness or post-truths politics. Secondly, I also aim to include practices and works that transcend the borders of art by actively change situations or provide solutions for urgent issues, an example for this was In Limbo Embassy in the exhibition Conflicting Identities.
These convictions led me to also work outside of the artistic realm, or rather as I call it ‘in-situ’. Examples of this ‘in-situ’ work are a project to which I contributed at a hospital (concerning the visibility of the identity of the hospital) or a project where I am supervisor for art students at a prison (concerning radicalisation). The reason for this is that I belief in the value of art for society, but to make this statement I belief one should also be working in the society and not in the private realm of the arts. This statement was of course very much inspired from exhibitions such as Art Útile at the Van Abbe Museum in which they re-introduced the functionality of art, tried to merge it with the more ‘free’ and autonomous identity of Western art, which proposes a new current state of being for artistic practices in the 21st century.
As a curator I belief one of my core functions is ‘to take care’. It is not a coincidence the etymological meaning of the word curator draws back to the greek ‘curare’ which means to care for. To work in this tradition I put a heavy weight on the relation and communication between the artists and myself, fair practice (i.e. fair payment) and to invest in healthy arts ecology. To live by the motto of we shape the world we live in.
Click here for my Curriculum Vitae
Artistic Director of Expoplu
Advisor to the Mondriaan Fund
Boardmember of RUIS
Member of the Programming committee of VHDG
Guest lecturer at ArtEZ University of the Arts