1967. A 21 years old girl, Phil Bloom. The smallest Dutch TV station, VPRO. A few seconds of broadcasted beautiful female nakedness. Here the few elements of the anatomy of a myth and of the birth of a TV channel. We know what happened with the TV channel. But what happens to citizens when they become stars in the media landscape? What happens to national heroes when they still decide to live beyond their birth in the realm of the symbolic? Today, Phil Bloom is 60 and has chosen the Torch Gallery to present her case history – in images.
Phil Bloom in profile with her ‘Nico’ looks – smiling from the grainy black and white late sixties print. Phil Bloom dressed as a soldier showing her wounds and defying the viewer’s gaze. Phil Bloom in a train station photo booth nonchalantly posing for its mechanical eye. Phil Bloom is about who we all are – individuals daily striving to invent themselves in the face of society’s compulsive drive to categorize. Phil Bloom is an artist, a painter and a performer. All through her life, she has been claiming her place elsewhere then in the official records of the late sixties media and Feminist movements.
For the first time and for a week time, Phil Bloom offers an overview of her so-many faces – official history’s forgotten ones, the ones that make the artist, the performer, the woman behind the myth.
Casually shot or carefully staged, these pictures help reshape the territory of the Dutch collective memory and give an occasion to reflect on how beautifully multiple and contradictory we can be.
Catherine Somzé, Amsterdam 2005