Sarah van Sonsbeeck

Mistakes I've Made

The DNA of Sarah's art

Every artist has certain fascinations, subjects that he or she finds incredibly interesting. Their work often focuses on such things. You could call it the DNA of the artist. Sarah's DNA has a number of themes: silence, how you deal with space and the use of gold. She also focuses on the yearning for a personal domain, a cocoon where she feels completely at home.

Mysterious paint

The black canvas is covered in Faraday paint with gold leaf scattered over the surface. The painting is paired with an eggbox covered in gold leaf; yes, really. The Faraday paint contains pieces of metal that block electromagnetic waves. When an area is covered in this paint, telephone and Wi-Fi networks can no longer penetrate it. This suits Sarah perfectly. She wants to claim her personal space by calling a halt to digital traffic because as soon as you access the internet, it tends to take up so much of your attention.


In this work, Sarah brings found objects and simple materials together with gold. Her message here is: the universe is a strange place, full of coincidence. It contains precious gold but also materials that are worth almost nothing.

At home/in a museum

"Many artworks end up in people's homes, but we tend to see art in galleries or museums where everything looks beautiful. If you put your toothbrush down in a completely white room, it would look gorgeous too. But in a domestic setting, art has to fight with everything that's already there. I think that's exciting," says Sarah.


In ancient times, gold was an irresistible material for many artists. It’s the same even today. Gold doesn't rust or tarnish, one reason it’s known as the king of metals. And because it's so rare, it is sometimes seen as a kind of divine material, similar to how some regard diamonds.

Speech is silver, silence is golden. Or not?

Sarah says, "I have a thing about gold. It is based on the saying, ‘speech is silver, silence is golden’. I think that’s nonsense. Why is silence better than speech? What if you break that rule, if you change it? Perhaps gold, as with silence, is like a mirror. It all depends who's looking at it and on the context."

Gold in you

There's gold in people, did you know that? Even if it's only a tiny bit. An adult weighing 70 kilos has 0.2 milligrams of gold in their body. Amazing, isn't it?


The other artists in the LAM who have made work that includes egg are Rafaël Rozendaal and Harmen Brethouwer. And Herman Berserik created his painting with tempera, a technique that uses egg.

What does Sarah love so much about art?

Sarah explains, "For me, the beauty of art is that it can change everything: how you look at your surroundings and even things that once irritated you, like my neighbours used to. Without my neighbours, I never would have become an artist."

Graduation project

Sarah's neighbours were driving her crazy. They made so much noise. Screaming, fighting and loud music. It got Sarah thinking about noise and silence. She used to think that a house is determined by physical walls, windows and ceilings. But she now realises there are also boundaries that you cannot see. Your neighbours might suddenly begin to make an incredible amount of noise. They are not physically in your house but are causing a lot of trouble, as if their noise is occupying space in your home. Sarah chose the problems with her neighbours as the topic of her graduation project. One evening when they were making an enormous amount of noise, she made a sound recording. Sarah played this when she graduated from the Rietveld Academy. 

Art and kitsch

There are no official rules about what art is, but there are certainly trends among artists, at art fairs, within galleries and museums and in fact throughout the entire art world. Certain figures and authorities have strict ideas about art. Gold glitters and catches the eye. In art, experts are quick to reject that type of thing.

Before Sarah became an artist…

She was an architect. Do you think that shows in her work?

Kijk eens anders

What would you change about the artwork and why?

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