Life is Art & Art is Life

What does it mean and entail to be
alive - a human being?

I'm obsessed with being alive.
Yet mostly, I live in a state of forgetfulness and interruption;
questioning how I could be living life differently,
in a more complex way and (worst of all) ''better and more efficiently''.
Questioning how much I can control the course of my life,
and how much others are influencing my life.
Looking for timeless truths and contemporary dogmas.
Thus, my art is a documentation of my development as a human being.
Very ''po-mo'' right? Being both the researcher as well as the subject...

Ever in a sickeningly romantic attempt,
to reach the impossible goal, of being 'enlightened'.
And then, after yet another
ugly breakdown or surprise,
I finally escape the paradox through art.
- Only briefly -
And then, slightly transformed, I start all over again...                                                                                                                                                      




Working and living in Rotterdam (NL)

Stijn Huijts (director of the Bonnefanten Museum):
''Jessica van Deursen is an performance artist, who pushes the boundaries of the common fine-arts practice. Not only does she challenge the borders between her art and her personal life, she also challenges her own mental and physical limits. While questioning to what extend she can control the course of her life, and to what extend others are influencing her, and which role art can play in this investigation. 
Van Deursen sees her art as a documentation of her development as a human being. During her performances, she confronts her audience with ritual or interactive happenings, through which she wants to stimulate her audience to become more aware of their own behaviour, thoughts and feelings.''

At the age of 17, Jessica moved to Rotterdam to study fine-arts at the Willem de Kooning academy, and to start a pop-up gallery together with fellow students called Downw_arts (2008-2013), for which she coordinated and curated many exhibitions.
Starting her fine-arts studies as a painter, but quickly evolving towards making performance art. And in that way, integrating her love for and experience with theatre and music, for which she had been taking classes from 2005 - 2008 at Jongerentheater Quint and the Hofpleintheater LOT, into her fine-art performances. During her studies at the Willem de Kooning academy, she also took classes in philosophy from a.o. Henk Oosterling, Awee Prins and Jos de Mul at the Erasmus University, as the minor degree for her bachelor. 
After graduating in 2012, she continued her studies at Codarts for her master's degree (2012-2014), in order to acquire more theatrical skills and knowlegde as a performer, yet again taking vocal, acting and singing classes. Here she wrote and published her book A Map to a World Called Performance Art as her final thesis. She also shares many of her (sometimes embarrassingly honest and 'too-ugly-to-be-blog-worthy') details from her personal life on her personal blog and vlog called Arty Farty Life.

In 2016 she was rewarded the Young Talent Grand by the Mondriaan Foundation. 

In 2019 she initiated the gesamtkunst collective Alter Moderna, for which she's the art director, composer and one of it's performers.


2012 - 2014     Ma of Arts, Community arts (specialisation in performance art), Codarts, Rotterdam
2008 - 2012     Ba of Arts, fine-arts, Willem de Kooning academy, Rotterdam
2011 - 2012     Minor Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam (as part of Ba fine-arts)
2002 - 2008     VWO, Emmauscollege, Rotterdam

2012                Masterclasses New Music Theatre, Codarts, Rotterdam
2007 - 2008     LOT course, preparatory training for theatre school, Hofpleintheater Rotterdam
2005 - 2008     Acting and singing classes at Jongerentheater Quint, SKVR and others


2016 - Mondriaanfonds, Werkbijdrage Jong Talent (Young Talent Grant)
2012 - Vrijvrouwe van Renswoude Scolarship
2012 - Bekker la Bastide Fonds Scolarship


2016 - present
ördinator and art-teacher at Art-S-Cool, The Hague

2015 - present

Lecturer on the topic of performance art and conceptual art
(regarding my book publication A Map to a World Called Performance Art, 2015),
at Codarts and private courses

2014 - now
Founder of Arty Farty Life. Blog and vlog for promoting sustainable,
innovative and social ideas and products

2009 - now
Graphic designer

Production assistant at PAE (Performance Art Platform, Rotterdam)

2008 - 2013
Founder of Art Platform Downw_arts (gallery at Zuidplein Laag 94 in Rotterdam
from 2008 up until 2009, and later organising exhibitions in numerous
locations in Rotterdam)

Ask for full resume