At first, I tried to squeeze as many interesting aspects as possible from my research in my design because I deemed them all to be relevant in my story. Too many to be able to influence cultural attitudes as Suzanne Lacy defined. My story got lost in all the angles and elements I wanted to include. A jury comment in a Netflix competition; “With too many points that you are trying to make and that is where the story gets lost” (33 minutes), made me strip down on aspects and realize that recognizability is required for my story to come across and succeed with change in stereotyping and cultural pattern thinking.

The main point I want to get across and people to reflect upon is how the concept of fragility impacts the visibility of women artists, both historic and contemporary.

I will visualize this fragility through paper flowers. Paper as material based on the restrictions in showing ter Borch’s drawings in a grand way and flowers being one of the few topics that women were historically allowed to work with.

The fragility in a women’s career will be represented in flowers from all different stages of life; from bud to blossoming and withered stages. Another work showing the decay of flowers is by Studio B Severin featuring a decay timelapse of an actual flower bouquet (Selected).

To symbolize contemporary women continuing the path of historic women, some flowers will grow on the remains of previously blossoming flowers. The older flowers fertilise the growth of the young ones.

The flowers will be made of paper, yet realistic and vulnerable to elements of nature, decoloring after long exposure to light, not resistant to water and ease to bruise.

In the installations spectators can walk around the flowers and interaction can happen with the flowers. Petals can be shaped by their surroundings, petals can be crushed by people passing by, blow away by wind and decolor under sunlight. All illustrative for the fragile material and women’s position in society.

What I also appreciate in this context is that making paper flowers is considered a women’s craft although the numbers indicate a massive industry of material, workshops, and books.


The product I envision with this installation is a change in the unconscious decision-making within art institutions that lead to exclusion of women artists. I hope that rather than hiding their work to maintain its current state there is appreciation for the fragility of it. Like in nature, beauty can be temporary and still be worth investing in.

I do not aim at validation of the structural exclusion but to provoke responses and discussions around it. Having a paper flower can support in having the conversation about the materiality of the art, the importance assigned historically in prohibiting access to education for women in different fields of art, and the difference assigned to work by men as art and of women as crafts.

To enforce the impact I want to realize, I want to make flower brooches. Pins are used to reflect status or worn for commemoration and brooches are often of flowers or insects (Figes) or a modern take on this like the LiveStrong bracelets of Lance Armstrong’s foundation (Asthana) and the Pink Ribbons brooches symbolic for Breast Cancer (KWF).

Considering the audience, I envision a stand at art events near the entrance to create awareness of historic structural exclusion seeping through into current curation and buying decisions. At the stand the research will be presented and paper flower brooches can be worn as token during the event.  My question to them is whether they will add inclusivity and divers representation as a decision-making criteria while curating or buying art.

I will use pins of paper daisy flowers as a symbol of ideology. The daisy that symbolizes new beginnings, childbirth, motherhood, and joy, tying into the fragile position of women and the rebirth of historic women artists’ appreciation. In the Victorian Era the daisy also symbolized the ability to keep things secret (Clacy), fitting for the women artists hidden in depots.

Temporary or eternal

Until now this research focuses on the temporality of the art works. Digital technology is often mentioned as a tool to be able to eternalize fragile work and safe it for the future (Museum Vereniging). The immortality of digital aspect though is over estimated. The quality of files deteriorates over time, hardware gets broken and software corrupt (MerlinOne)(Gounares)(Museum Vereniging).

What would it mean if the work of ter Borch is digitalised? Will it be experienced and treated differently? What does it do to the experience of art if seen and explored digitally rather than in real life? A wider audience can be realised in a digital online museum, although most musea show an online catalogue only few offer proper online exhibitions. Besides that, musea use social media for marketing but don’t utilize the potential of storytelling (Navarrete, 5). I believe the merging of digital and physical museum experience can create a new consumer experience that facilitates the needs of our increasingly digitalised consumption behaviour. Besides that, it provides musea with the ability to measure social systems of valuation by analysing what is popular online and what drives online visitors in their click behaviour. More importantly they can easily showcase and push forward items on historic women makers, reshaping the systematic patterns of exclusion online. 

For me personally I think it would be nice to come online with a grand repository. I would like to see an exposition around the work of for example ter Borch where contemporary artists show work around her work and celebrating her mastership and role in art history, combining an online and offline exhibition. 



Netflix. “Glow Up Season 4 Episode H&M Beauty Campaign.” Netflix. 2022.

Selected. “Vanitas Studio B Severin.” Selected Conference 2023. Accessed 08 March 2023


Clacy, Saffron. “The Daisy Flower: Meanings, Images & Insights “ 08 Nov 2022.,ability%20to%20keep%20things%20secret.

Gaumond, Andrew. “Daisy Flower Meaning and Symbolism in the Language of Flowers.” Petal Rublic. 08 Nov 2022.

Figes, Lydia. “The return of the power brooch: coded jewellery in art history.” Art UK public art collection. 26 Sep 2019.,status%2C%20or%20even%20hidden%20desires

Asthana, Anushka. “How a yellow wristband became a fashion must”. The Guardian. 08 Aug 2004.

KWF. “Geschiedenis van Pink Ribbon”. KWF Organisation. Accessed 20 May 2023.

Temporary or eternal

Museum Vereniging. “Digitalisering”. MuseumVereniging. Accessed 20 May 2023.

MerlinOne. “Understanding Digital Decay.” MerlinOne database company. Accessed 11 May 2023

Gounares, Alexander. “AI-Fragile Systems: the death of brittle software?” Thoughtfulbits Technology. 01 Feb 2023.

Navarette, Trilce. “Digitization in Museums” Erasmus University Rotterdam. Jan 2020.

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