Saskia Janssen's new works A Glass of Water (Some Objects on the Path to Enlightenment) have been created over the previous year in response to the lessons about Buddhism that she has been attending every week at the temple. In the Dolores' Lavatorium by Benjamin Greber different stages in the process of installing and deinstalling a series of sinks is shown.
A Glass of Water (Some Objects on the Path to Enlightenment)
Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS is presenting a collection of new works by Saskia Janssen as well as a publication under the title A Glass of Water (Some Objects on the Path to Enlightenment). The works have been created over the previous year in response to the lessons about Buddhism that Janssen has been attending every week at the temple – housed in the cellar of a sunbed salon – of a small Buddhist community in eastern Amsterdam. During these lessons and the lectures and rituals conducted by visiting lamas, Janssen takes notes and makes sketches. Once back in her studio, she turns them into drawings, photos, sculptures and texts, thus transforming the lessons into works or revisiting earlier works from a new perspective. In doing this she follows a self-imposed rule: no depictions of Buddha, no exoticism. For her the crux is the transformation from concept to work and the shift in perspective.
A Glass of Water is a tangential sequel to the Me & You on a Golden Avenue exhibition, which was the result of Janssen’s encounters at the Blaka Watra walk-in centre, a space for long-term users of hard drugs in Amsterdam. There Janssen’s focus was on encounters with strangers, but here it is about an encounter with the great unknown. The two locations and their populations could hardly be more different, but in an extraordinary way there is also an overlap: both offer a different view of the world around us, provide more space to think and a greater capacity to place things in perspective.
At Blaka Watra I meet people who own nothing more than a plastic bag and the clothes they are standing in. At the temple I encounter lamas who explain why you actually don’t have to possess anything more than what you truly need. While the users spend their days wearing themselves out to acquire the necessary drugs for their pursuit of ultimate happiness, the lamas devote most of their time to meditation and study on the path to Enlightenment, their own form of ultimate bliss.
The publication A Glass of Water (Some Objects on the Path to Enlightenment) will be available at the gallery during the exhibition (in a numbered edition of 60). From 26 February, a PDF version of the publication can be downloaded for free via http://www.saskiajanssen.com/A-Glass-of-Water
Saskia Janssen (NL, 1968) mixes performance, documentary and sociology in her -mostly socially engaged- works, that are made for specific sites. Janssen studied Fine Arts at the KABK in the Hague, and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Currently she teaches at de Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.. Recent exhibitions include Fries Museum, Fort Ruigenhoek and Museum de Paviljoens.
Benjamin Greber – Dolores’ Lavatorium
curated by Dorothé Orczyk
Benjamin Greber researches contemporary society as if he were an anthropologist. By reproducing technical objects, or ‘fictional ready-mades’ as he likes to call these, Greber reflects upon certain temporal processes taking shape in our society. In his work, the artist investigates technical objects and questions their value.
When producing the elements for his installations Greber uses a strict process to reproduce the actual industrially produced equivalent. He starts with a basic model in cardboard, which is painted and coated with an epoxy resin. In the next step, the object’s surface is manipulated by mimicking real life processes like staining, damaging, repairing, and repainting the object. The composition of traces of these physical processes combined with precise painterly interventions show the object in various stages of its existence. This idea takes further root by showing the same object in a series of exhibitions, each time in a different stage.
By applying these methods Greber wants the sculptures to be charged with a ‘narrative aura’ which raises questions about the origin, sense, past and future of these reproduced objects and their context.
I think everyone has an image of each object in mind which is associated with metaphors made by our social experiences with this object. By transforming those existing objects into sculptures this may reveal metaphors and its inner meanings to our lives.
In the Dolores’ Lavatorium exhibition, different stages in the process of installing and deinstalling a series of sinks is shown. The traces of both past, current, and future events refer to the perishability of the world and our comprehension of how things should appear. It is never clear which stage has already passed and which is yet to come. The first trace is that of the positioning of the sinks on the wall. The second set of traces is formed by fragments of the sinks spread on the floor, as if the sinks are taken from the wall and have been destroyed. The third trace of their existence take shape in a pile of transport boxes, either containing new sinks, or left over from the previous instalment.
Benjamin Greber (Germany, 1979) graduated at Kunstakademie Münster. Recent exhibitions include among others Marta Herford, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, NICC in Antwerp and Lokaal 01. Last year Greber was granted the Stiftung Kunstfonds Art Grant.
More information on Greber’s work can be found on www.benjamingreber.com
Opening: Sat. 25 February 2012 17 – 19 hrs
Ellen de Bruijne
Rozengracht 207 A Amsterdam
Gallery hours: Tu till Fri 11 – 18 h | Sat 13 – 18 h | 1st Sun of the month 14 – 17 h