Elasticity of Presence

What is it like to be involuntarily separated from your loved one for a long time? What story lies hidden behind the separation of couples who essentially belong together?

Laurence Aëgerter investigated this question, based upon her fascination for the wedding
portraits that Frans Hals made of Stephanus Geraerdts and his wife Isabella Coymans.

The two works formed a double portrait for years, but became separated in 1886, when Isabella’s portrait became part of a private
collection. Thus, Stephanus has been without his beloved for over 130 years. Aëgerter emphasizes the ‘human’ side of paintings that essentially belong together. Near the painting of Stephanus she interviewed nine men who were also separated from their partners for a long time due to external circumstances. She places their stories next to the portrait of Isabella that the men have conjured up by lovingly rubbing a pencil
across the seemingly blank ‘magic paper’.

Related projects:

Elasticity of Presence, Huis met de Hoofden, Amsterdam

Recto Verso (multiple)


Series of nine private performances for the making of Elasticity of Presence at the Frans Hals Museum Haarlem


Here below you will find the stories in the language used by the performer.