Aimée Zito Lema

Summer 2021

Currently working on an extensive new project, Aimée Zito Lema is investigating two conflict situations that had the Oude Kerk as their focal point: the Iconoclastic Fury of 1566 and the more recent discussion about the use of the church as a contemporary art venue. The traces that the two conflicts have left behind form the raw material for Zito Lema’s new work, which includes photography, sculpture, poetry and a basin installation. At the heart of the work is the question how communities around the church respond to that change, past and present.

Zito Lema works with images, holy figures and other relics from the Catholic past of the Oude Kerk that were largely destroyed during the Iconoclastic Fury. She also closely follows the public debate about the current use of the church, which regularly flares up since the Oude Kerk was officially designated a venue for contemporary art installations in 2013. Zito Lema collected material on these discussions: from newspaper clippings and letters to editors to legal texts. Together with young poetry students she transformed words taken from these documents into new poems that will be part of the exhibition. The visual language of the installation (construction lamps, scaffolding) brings to mind the restoration work that is always in progress in the church and that symbolizes both change and resistance to change.


Aimée Zito Lema (1982) was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Buenos Aires. She studied at the Universidad Nacional de las Artes (Buenos Aires), the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam) and the Royal Academy of Art (The Hague). She was also a resident at, among others, the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten Amsterdam, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Zito Lema’s fascination for social resistance is a connecting thread in her work: earlier, she made work about the Argentine dictatorship and about the protests during the construction of the Stopera. Her work has been on show at venues such as MACBA and Centre Pompidou as well as at the Gwangju Biennale. The exhibition in the Oude Kerk will be her biggest solo exhibition to date, and it is the first time that she has made such an extensive context-specific work.


This exhibition is made possible thanks to Ammodo.


Photo: Maarten Nauw.