CODA ApeldoornMuseumArchief2013Rinke Nijburg Rinke Nijburg: sleepwalkers and soulmates

Sleepwalkers and Soulmates

Paintings, drawings and graphic artwork by Rinke Nijburg 

27.04 to 23.06.2013

For centuries the world that lies between dreaming and waking has been an important theme and source of inspiration in the visual arts. Dreaming, the moment of waking, and the state of mind of for instance the sleepwalker have fascinated many artists. The work of visual artist Rinke Nijburg (1964) also originates in this realm between dream and reality. Under the poetic title Sleepwalkers and Soulmates, CODA Museum exhibits his unique artworks from 27 April to 23 June 2013.

Sleepwalkers and Soulmates

Rinke Nijburg is mainly inspired by philosophy in the broadest sense, the old Dutch masters, and the greats of Italian painting. The past few years, oriental religions like Buddhism and Hinduism have also become sources of inspiration. Nijburg’s work brings together religion, philosophy, mythology, cartoons, fairy tales, and current social events in a unique and rich world that never ceases to fascinate the spectator. His works are enthralling and pique the audience’s curiosity.

Butterflies play a central role in Nijburg’s work. They represent metamorphosis, transfiguration and rebirth, but to the artist the butterflies are primarily symbols of alienation.


One series of works shows human figures from the back. We are given an impression of build, gender and age but otherwise the person depicted remains anonymous. The spectator gazes out at the world over his or her shoulder, while the cartoon-like image on the back is the main focus of attention.

Rinke Nijburg uses tattoos to show the depicted person’s inner life to the outside world. To achieve the soft, brush stroke effect of a tattoo, the artist uses coloured pencils, charcoal and pastels.

Rinke Nijburg

Rinke Nijburg (Lunteren, 1964) attended the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem (1982-1987), Ateliers Arnhem (1990-1991) and the National Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam (1993-1994). He has won several major awards, including Koninklijke Subsidie voor Vrije Schilderkunst, the Prix de Rome Grafiek , the Gelderland Grafiekprijs, and in the spring of 2012 the Duits-Nederlandse Grafiekprijs.  

In addition to working as a painter and graphic artist, he writes essays. Rinke Nijburg has positioned himself very clearly with his views on philosophy and religion and uses both as themes in his artistic work. To separate the two would be unthinkable to him. Rinke Nijburg: ‘Art and religion are like Siamese twins to me.’     

The exhibition and publication of Sleepwalkers and Soulmates were put together to celebrate the fact that Rinke Nijburg won the Duits-Nederlandse Grafiekprijs in 2012. CODA director Carin Reinders was one of the judges of this award, and one of the initiators of this exhibition of recent works by Nijburg. Sleepwalkers and Soulmates was exhibited in Stadtmuseum Borken in Germany earlier.


This exhibition and the fact that Nijburg won the Duits-Nederlandse Grafiekprijs resulted in the publication of Sleepwalkers and Soulmates (Dutch title: Slaapwandelaars en zielsverwanten). You can buy this bilingual (Dutch and German), richly illustrated book from the CODA museum shop for only € 20.

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