The Essential

by Martin & Inge Riebeek

500 video portraits / 23 countries

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE / November 2 - February 2

The performers in 'All the world's a stage' express their vision of life. For example, the actress Karelle Prugnaud (Paris) proclaims that the free will of man is an illusion; everyone has to adhere to rules and assignments. Singer Jian Xinping (Shanghai) has the message that whoever seeks a higher goal, mainly meets loneliness. Niels Swinkels wants to comfort the people in his hometown Uden during the corona lockdown by playing music.

Portrait Leon


Buenos Aires, Argentina
'When I started writing I found my way of holding back the anger.'
Portrait Rosie


Paris, France
'Mankind is too arrogant, they think that the human species is superior.'
Portrait Thomas


Accra, Ghana
'I see the body as an archive of memories.'
Portrait Anna


Uden, The Netherlands
'Dare to do something different for once.'
Portrait Nataliya


Athens, Greece
'There is an immense difference between living and just surviving.'
Portrait Adgardo


New York, USA
'I like to keep a little bit of my innocence around.'
Portrait Fay


Shanghai, China
'We need to have faith and follow our dreams without hesitation.'
Portrait Ling Shi


New York, USA
'Today I'm feeling the concrete on my hands.'

The Essential - A Decade Of Video Portraits

‘The Essential’ reveals the ways in which we are unique, but also the similarities we share, despite our differences. Artists Martin and Inge Riebeek have been actively collecting stories from people around the world since 2010. The people they portray tell about what matters most to them, or what is essential in their lives. The resulting body of work thus far contains more than 600 video portraits of individuals from 23 countries. This book is a celebration of this past decade of work by the Riebeeks. It gives an overview of the video portraits and transcripts of the subjects’ personal and revealing monologues, in turn accompanied by additional anecdotes and insights from the artists.

Martin & Inge Riebeek
Publisher The Eriskay Connection
ISBN 9789492051523

256 p, ills colour & bw, 21 x 30 cm, pb, English
€ 32,-

Review: Brabant Cultureel

Interviews: Anneke van Wolfswinkel. Interviewees: Hendrik Driessen, Verily Klaassen, Jim van Os.


Boek afbeelding 1 Boek afbeelding 2 Boek afbeelding 3 Boek afbeelding 4


Video art project The Essential

For video art project The Essential artists Martin and Inge Riebeek collect the stories of people around the world. In these stories people tell about what matters most to them and what is essential in their lives. Hundreds of people from a total of 18 countries have shared their answers in the past decade. Martin and Inge still collect new stories, as they long to give a voice to every type of person in existence. The Essential reveals the ways in which we are unique but also the similarities we share despite our differences. The stories also show what is happening in the world right now, at times revealing a disturbing, yet important, message.

Online exhibitions

Every few months Martin and Inge will display a selection of stories online, as an addition to several exhibitions and screenings. You will be introduced to people from around the world and their honest stories.

The artists

Martin and Inge met in 1996 and have been working together since 2001. They have created several commissioned art works for multinationals like Aegon, Rabobank and AkzoNobel. Besides their commissioned work they have developed their independent art practice. The Essential is an important part of the work they create. The Essential has been displayed in solo exhibitions at Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch, De Pont museum in Tilburg and Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoort.

The Essential is supported by Mondriaan Fonds and bkkc impulsgelden.

Logo Mondriaan Fonds Logo bkkc


16-10-2019 / 16-02-2020: Bij de manifestatie ‘Bijzonder gewoon’ in Delft, video installatie met 15 portretten van The Essential in de expositieruimte 38CC

22-11-2019: Sneak preview van The Essential voor de nieuwe inrichting het Dolhuys | museum van de geest, bij de viering van het 700-jarig jubileum van het gebouw.

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2019 - Opening kunsthal KAdE expositie ‘Videoland’ met o.a. ‘Imagine Being There International’

2019 - Global Entrepreneurship Summit Conference, World Forum Den Haag - vertoning filmloop met portretten uit The Essential

2019 - Congres Kunst in het sociale domein, CKE Eindhoven - vertoning van 2 videoportretten uit The Essential

2019 - Opening expositie ‘Raketstart’, Stedelijk Museum Breda met o.a. 'The Essential’

2019 – Street Life – online exhibition

2018 – Colourful People – online exhibition

2018 – Art doesn’t earn Money, Art only burns Money – Stokvishallen Breda

2018 - The Essential – the seminar of the Dutch General Practionars Society – Domus Medica

2018 - The Essential - No Direction Home - online exhibition

2018 - PREVIEW - Galerie Pennings

2018 - The Essential - The World's A Stage - online exhibition

2017 - 2018 - The Essential - Human Cities - AkzoNobel Art Space Amsterdam

2018 – Frijheid kinst hawwe, mar it is better om it te fielen - online exhibition

2018 – Art doesn’t earn Money, Art only burns Money – Fries Museum

2018 – Art doesn’t earn Money, Art only burns Money – Cultuurnacht Breda

2017 – Art doesn’t earn Money, Art only burns Money – online exhibition

2017 – The Essential - Stories That Matter – online exhibition

2017 – The Essential - Art of Integration – online exhibition

2017 – The Essential – Art of Integration – screening at documentary festival DOCfeed Eindhoven

2016 – The Essential – Art of Integration – exhibition Nomads in TAC Eindhoven

2016 – The Essential - The Times They Are a-Changin' – PARK Tilburg

2015 – The Essential - No Direction Home – dertien hectare Heeswijk-Dinther

2015 – The Essential – Home = Here – CBK Groningen

2015 – The Essential – Home = Here – screening at Architecture Filmfestival Rotterdam

2014 – The Essential – De Pont museum Tilburg

2012 – The Essential – I kiss my love goodbye and go to work – Achmea Leiden

2010 – 2015 – The Essential – on-going installation at the entrance hall of Aegon The Hague

2009 – Imagine Being There International – Kunsthal KAdE Amersfoort

2003 – Imagine Being There – Rabobank


Martin Riebeek &

Inge Riebeek-van 't Klooster

Oranjeboomstraat 20

4812 EJ Breda

tel: +31 (0)76 5200990

mobile: +31 (0)623614871 / +31 (0)657581013


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