– Autumn/Winter 2001

We Have Gotten Through Difficult Times or, Female Trouble: Brightening the Corners since 1990

Robert Nickas

Tags: Lily van der Stokker

Titles aren't just the names of things, and a word about this one is in order. In 1995 I asked Lily van der Stokker to take part in a show I was organising for Galerie Jousse Seguin in Paris. The gallery had a double identity, exhibiting contemporary art in one space and modernist furniture, primarily by Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, in another.

I decided to merge their dual activities in my show, inviting artists to choose and incorporate a piece of furniture with a work of their own. At that point, Lily had already been making wall paintings in relation to sofas for a number of years. So when I was poking around the storage of Jousse Seguin and came upon a fantastic 60s sofa by Nicola in the form of a giant white hand, I excitedly proposed it to Lily. It was both minimal and pop, as functional as it was fun, a work of art and design but also welcoming and strange. How totally Lily. She immediately agreed to my suggestion, came to Paris and, as she has done so many times before, set herself up in front of a wall and, with great care and precision, left behind a deceptively simple graphic with a very particular message on its mind. This one said, matter-of-factly: WE ARE GOING THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES.

It was not exactly the kind of happy, carefree expression people usually associated with Lily, for whom everything was perennially WONDERFUL and GOOD. Or so it seemed. Where Lily's work until this time could be seen as a gesture of friendship, she had now created a specific, empathetic connection with