Matthijs Vuijk

Matthijs Vuijk. House of Desires, (video still), 2023.

Year granted: 2022 Website: Part of Prospects

Matthijs Vuijk (1995) is an artist, film director, and cinematographer. His work focuses on the emotional impact of shifting interpersonal relationships in society. His work House of Desires (2023) pays specific attention to the blended family. In the Netherlands, half a million children are growing up in families with step or half siblings. Vuijk himself grew up in similar family. According to him, numbers and statistics alone are insufficient for understanding the cultural and social significance of this type of household.

Vuijk learned that, compared to other Europeans, the Dutch surprisingly often used the English keyword ‘step’ to browse one of the major porn sites. It made him interested in the relationship between the growing number of blended families and the increasing number of fantasies about stepfathers, stepmothers, and step or half siblings represented in porn. As part of his research, Vuijk is presenting a video montage at Prospects featuring opening scenes from porn videos where the family connections are introduced before the sex scenes begin. Vuijk:

“A well-known series in this genre is Family Therapy, where there’s always something wrong in the mutual relationships. I find it interesting to see how they create that awkward atmosphere.”

By exposing this awkwardness, the artist raises questions about specific sexual desires, without passing judgement. But then, these desires are not the taboo he wishes to break. He prefers to talk about the, apparently frequently watched, but rarely talked about, fantasies of the people living in these blended families themselves.

Text: Jorne Vriens

Translation from Dutch to English: Marie Louise Schoondergang