Solitary Company is a portrait of a remote island as seen through the eyes of its inhabitants. This is the first episode of a triptych about the micro-community of Hrisey, an island off the north coast of Iceland, during the darkest months in winter when all is covered in snow and silence. During a month-long residency on Hrisey, Puck Verkade conducted interviews with three generations of local people, about their personal connection with the island, the effect of living in such a small community off the mainland, and their relationship to silence. Throughout the video we never get to see the faces of the interviewees, only their backs and the views they can see through the windows. The island itself thus becomes an additional character, showing its empty landscape and silent presence. The circular frame stresses visual isolation as well as the physical borders of the island. Essentially the narrative reflects on the borders of solitude, on silence and its inevitable connection to mortality.
Puck Verkade’s (1987, The Hague, Netherlands) artistic practice is marked by the exploration of how human beings give meaning to life. Using an investigative documentary method, she questions matters of purpose and their ambiguous nature. She is drawn to subjects that expose the human psychological condition, the way we construct our identity through belief systems, and the individual’s position within society. After receiving her BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (2011), Verkade’s work has been shown at various institutions, for instance at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam. She recently completed residencies in Thailand and Iceland and will start her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London in September. In 2016 she will have a solo exhibition at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague. Puck Verkade lives and works in The Hague.