The Building a Pedantry of Lines


Documentation of a show I made for the exhibition spaces of the Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht (NL). It brings together a body of works using a wide range of materials and techniques, such as drawing, etching, ceramics, animation and found stuff.

The exhibition is a product of the unusual situation of having an exhibition space next to your studio, which allowed for a much more fluid interaction between spaces of production and spaces of display than usual. However, it was also a product of my struggle with certain lack of clearly defined borders between the different functions that the exhibition space had to fulfill. The main exhibition space is not just a platform for showing art, is partly used as a meeting place and café. During the latest renovation of the building, the modernist architecture, with its obsession for transparency and clarity of line, was supplemented by a stage like structure, a wooden panelling not just covering the floor, but extending into walls. This produced a strange continuity between transparency as a modernist utopian ideal and transparency as a public staging of a particular form of social life at the academy, maybe in order to justify the institutions existence.

Without wanting to deal with institutional politics explicitly, I felt a need to somehow mediate my own struggle to position myself somewhere within this quite imposing architecture. Part of the challenge was to literally find a space between the modernist obsession with line and the baroqueness of its wooden stage like supplement. One of the strategies I used was to employ materials, such as a clay, wood and tape, to mark in-between spaces. In terms of inhabiting space, for me those works were more successful than the works that went beyond merely marking and that tried to claim an autonomous space for themselves. Maybe there is more autonomy in carefully mediating constraints than there is in attempting to claim a space of one’s own.

The animation More than meets the eye can be watched on Vimeo. In the exhibition it was played as a loop, on a monitor.