Martin Riebeek (1957 Haarlem, NL) studied contemporary art (monumental art and painting) at AKV|St. Joost (1985-1990). Inge Riebeek - van 't Klooster (1964 Wageningen, NL) specialized in sculpting and ceramics at AKV|St. Joost (1982-1987).
Martin and Inge have been working together since 2001. They created several art works in public space and started to integrate audio visual elements in their work. In their work they have always focussed on creating encounters, to connect people to one another. An encounter of only 3 seconds in ‘Interactive Wall’ (2000) recorded by two camera’s. Or the longing for the ultimate encounter in ‘Runway for extra-terrestrial Cultures’ (2003). This is a monument of hope and longing for the landing of aliens on earth.
The seeds for the later street interview projects (Imagine Being There, The Essential) were sown in 2002, while Martin and Inge were working on a piece commissioned by a juvenile penitentiary in Veenhuizen: Heaven at 4 am. This installation consists of an interactive treadmill. The runner is filmed and plays the lead role in an imaginary escape. The Riebeeks devised a route for the virtual escape that ultimately leads to the southernmost tip of Italy. Along the way to this destination, they shot film in twelve European cities. But as they filmed people without asking for their permission, they soon began to feel like voyeurs. When permission was given, the spontaneity vanished. So they decided to engage passers-by in the conversation by asking them “What is your dream? What does your paradise look like?” In the end these encounters became the sole purpose for the artist couple. Those visions on paradise were collected in interactive installations for Rabobank Nederland (2006) and Kunsthal KAdE (2009).
The year 2010 is key in the artistic career of the artists. Their work was rewarded by the contemporary art award of the Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds Brabant. In the same year they had their first solo presentation in Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch; Between You & Me. Also in 2010 they created a public work under the same name located in a courtyard in Tilburg: an installation that combines the use of new media and interactivity. An enriching encounter that shows that we all constitute public space together.
In 2010 they also started collecting interviewed portraits for The Essential: the artists posed the question “What, to you, is the essence of life right now?”. The Essential is an ode to the diversity of the individual. The artists created a unique format for the way these short portraits are made. Again it is all about the encounter. They film the testimonies in one take, a monologue where the characters walk up to the camera and then disappear after they have told us their story. So far Martin and Inge have created more than 500 portraits in 23 countries. These portraits are disclosed through exhibitions in several museums, presentations at galleries of their commissioners like Rabobank, Aegon and AkzoNobel, online exhibitions, and independent short films. In 2014 De Pont museum hosted a solo exhibition about The Essential. In 2017 parts of The Essential have been presented at Fries Museum and AkzoNobel Essential Art Space. In 2019 the video-installation Imagine Being There - The Essential was realised for the Rabo Art Collection. Besides a big solo-exhibition in Stedelijk Museum Breda in 2020, the book 'The Essential - A Decade of Video Portraits' was released.