distant suffering


Since 2013, by means of the ongoing art-series distant suffering, the Dutch artist Hans Overvliet (Leiden, 1952) investigates the role of the media in their representation of (military) violence. This, in the context of themes as perception, memory and identity formation.

Overvliet uses a various range of media, symbols and codes, bringing together seemingly dichotomies like beauty and violence, refinement and brutality, the sublime and the vulgar.

Aspects of power, politics, exclusion, censorship and the connection between artist, artwork and viewer seemingly effortlessly find their place in his multifaceted conceptual oeuvre. The language to image relationship and references to (art) history are always present.

As a reporter, Overvliet was an eyewitness to the events in the Middle East during the 1980s. Of course these experiences resonate in distant suffering. 

His transition into art was inspired by the Dutch Artist Armando “It is the beauty of evil, ‘die Schönheit des Bösen’, loca-ted in the belly of the evil, looking for a place in the wake of evil in order to show to show himself to me, although it doesn’t amuse me at all. This beauty calls me to transfer the ‘evil’ into the innocent, because of the amoral domain of art”.

Elements of distant suffering were ex-hibited in the Netherlands, Belgium, Pakistan, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Re-public, Sweden and England.


Hans Overvliet lives and works in the province of Zeeland. 

Next to his art-work he is, together with his wife Willy van Houtum, the founder and every day guardian of the 27-year old space for contemporary art: ruimteCAESUUR. 



i.d. Of liquid mobility

i.d. A shared cup of tea

i.d. Documentation of a cloud. Photo, Lukáš Jasanský

i.d. A shared key. Photo, Giel Louws

i.d. A shared bullet. Photo, Jochem Weststrate

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