Nicky Broekhuysen creates works made up of thousands of I and 0 forms. Using custom made rubber stamps, she hand stamps these two simple forms in oil paint onto canvas or paper. Her oeuvre also includes sculpture, video and installation works. Originally from South Africa, she completed her studies in New Zealand and has since lived and worked in Shanghai, Berlin and currently lives in the Hautes-Pyrénées, France.
In her own words
For over 16 years my work has explored two simple universal forms: the line (I) and the circle (0). These two forms have become my distinct visual and conceptual language through which I explore my understanding of myself and the world. Inherent in this language is the potential for infinite expression depending on how the many lines and circles are arranged in relationship to each other. This is what brings me back to the studio each day.
Although the I and 0 have remained constant in my work, what they have come to represent has changed. I first started using these forms in 2007, when digital networks were weaving their way into our personal lives and the world was excited by the world wide web’s potential to create global connectedness. At this time these shapes represented a one and a zero, binary code, the building blocks of the digital era.
In the years since then, we have seen the digital era deliver the potential for connectedness but at the same time, isolation and polarization.
By 2019 my perspective started to shift. I had spent most of my adult life living in big cities yet felt a deep longing to live in a more natural environment. After my wife and I moved to The Pyrenees mountains, it became clear that this move towards greater connection with nature was also opening up a greater connection with myself.
I began to see the line as representing the individual or separateness and the 0 as connectedness and belonging.
During this process I remembered something:
Back in 2007 when I was experimenting with various fonts that would become the rubber stamps of the line and circle, I found the form of the number 1 to be awkward, preferring the letter ‘I’ for its symmetry. This meant that for all these years, the line, the one, had actually always been an ‘I’.
I believe that today the I and 0 represent the potential to find connectedness in nature and to learn from nature. To not only view ourselves as separate but also as part of a deeply connected, intelligent, living system. Nature is the circle, and today's most vital question is, how do we rearrange our ‘I’ in relation to the 0?
I am aware that it is a privilege to create and live surrounded by mountains and I am deeply grateful for their mentorship and love.