Wiedereholte Spiegelungen

    Haven't you noticed?... We stop life the moment we want to say something. Haven't you noticed?... We stop life the moment we want to think about something. In slowing down life we can make that moment visible in a different way. Slowing down is a dynamic and colourful stance: it is rest and motion in one. An installation can provide the means for this dynamic stance. In this way, art is present (we notice where things are), past (we notice where things have been) and future (we notice the ways things might develop themselves) in one. Suspending life for a moment gives us the opportunity to think about and reflect on our lives, while at the same time engaging in an installation. We could say that this shows a reflexive dynamics within a frozen moment.
The installation is built up by means of (colour) contrasts, which is the main reason why nothing has to be explained, but instead produces a reality in which fantasy and reality work together in various roles. The literal and the metaphorical are side by side. Everything stands in a meaningful relationship, everything hangs together, but we can enter and leave the installation in only one single way.

Dream, imagination and reality unite in an artistic/poetic unity. The kitchenette is real and was already present at the time the place was offered to me. Taking it as a starting point, I decided to draw the rest of what we know to be a kitchen, roughly at the same height and with the same dimensions as the kitchenette. So, 2D and 3D are situated next to each other. In fact, the result shows itself as some sort of prototype of a kitchen. And with that it becomes conceptual art. I did not draw a detailed plate, dish, bottle or cup, but only the indications thereof - a prototype we all are able to categorise and recognise. The drawing of the cooker hood merges with the shades of the ceiling; there is a real 3D socket, throwing shadows on a 2D drawn cooker and the like. In this way, we see a kitchen and the concept of 'kitchen'.

The changes into various perspectives that we can discover when exploring the installation amount to contemplation and reflection, and allow us to stop time while at the same moment challenge our own life history.
Thus, we can detect various layers and dimensions in Wiederholte Spiegelungen/Repeated Reflections. First, a horizontal dimension, which is expressed in the various contrasts, such as colour contrasts, and contrasts in materials such as solid-soft, solid-fluid, inner-outer and the like. The viewer can also experience a vertical dimension, expressed in the various reflections. And finally, there is the suggestion of a fourth dimension in the combination of A and B and the taking in of a temporal aspect. Let us see where that leads us to.

Inner & outer
The three windows at the right side of the space are armoured with black blinds. Opposite, the oval wall shows a drawing of the concept 'window' as a mirroring of the three real windows. The drawn windows are filled in with a colour that raises associations and suggestions of grass, air and sea. This reflection of reality and the concept of reality also holds for the radiators. Beneath the drawings of the windows we can detect the drawing of the radiators. Originally, the left wall of the space, showing the kitchen, was part of the ramparts of the city of Amsterdam. Today it is an inside wall of the university library. To right of centre there is an object on the floor: dimensions 150(w) x 6.5(h) x 100(d) cm. It refers to a pond (outside) Narcissus saw himself in, as well as to the one (inside) who bends over to read the text: 'me'. In this way, there is a reference to the physical self as well as to the concept of 'self'.

Solid & soft
The walls of the exhibition space are solid, but the lengths of cloth which are used to create see-throughs are flexible, and in case of the 'changeant' even changing. Changeant cloth is cloth woven in flat strands with contrasting coloured threads. In this case, when the viewer moves, the cloth changes colour from red to blue shades. The four lengths of changeant each hang at a different height and at various distances from the back wall. As a consequence, they emphasise the lines the tubes and the ceiling make. Because of the various distances, the lengths of cloth function as spy holes and
  give the viewer the opportunity to look around corners, discovering various openings and paths across the installation. In doing so, he displaces air while softly moving the cloth. The blue/red changeant cloth connects the colours of the left with those of the right side of the space. The shawl (soft) that is hanging out of a connection case (solid) refers to the object, with its prints of narcissus and daffodils, and shows the set of colours that are used in the installation.

Word & image
The object does not give the viewer an image of himself, but addresses him in such a way that an image is evoked in himself. He has to read the word 'me' which evokes a direct reference to the viewer, in such a way, that it freezes him for a moment and forces him to take a look at himself.

Dream & reality
There is a real kitchenette together with the concept of 'kitchen' covering the left wall of the exhibition space, executed in black and white (the highest contrast). From the entrance, three lengths of orange, half-transparent silk cloth partly cover the left wall in such a way that it seems as if the real kitchenette is also drawn on the wall. We are all familiar with the kitchen as being the most important space in the house for social interaction - the space where body and soul are sustained. Everyone will undoubtedly have memories about the kitchen as a space that provides warmth and (spiritual) nourishment. Also, symbolically it represents (the possibility for) transformation.

Realistic & conceptual
The wall drawing is not design (it is not slick and precise enough), neither it is scenery (nothing is happening/there is no background functioning for an established event), but is an evocative field of tension between what is real and what can be understood as conceptual. There is a real kitchenette and an 'unreal' prototype of a kitchen drawn on the wall. The floor reflects the wall and the kitchen - that is to say, it reflects the kitchenette but not the drawing on the wall. The object 'me' connects the left and the right side of the space, but can also exist on its own. It emphasises the conceptual character in that it gives to the viewer an abstract word instead of an image. Whenever the viewer bends over, he does not see himself - unlike Narcissus - but a word that refers to himself: 'me'. In this way, every viewer will be addressed by himself.

Surface & depth
Some things mirror each other, such as the left and the right wall, the various shades of colour used in the installation summed up in the shawl, etc. Other parts reflect each other in a different dimension, for instance the concertina fold that was exhibited during the opening reception, with the pictures of the entrances of the philosopher's rooms - as a 'view on the world' and a place for reflection - and the contemplative atmosphere of the installation itself as a place for the viewer to stop time for a moment. There is also a text on the wall next to the entrance that turns everything upside down. The text in the installation is weakened and negated by the title of the exhibition. The viewer can read 'me' and then, turning around, read 'looking to eternity through the window of time'. But that is only what we think is the case; in fact, what we see are only Wiederholte Spiegelungen/Repeated Reflections.

Experience & change
The viewer gets the opportunity to look around and explore the installation as a private experience. The installation itself is a public space that in turn is a part of a larger public space: the library. The viewer's private experience takes place in the company of others. In this respect, the viewer has the opportunity to walk through the installation together with other people, to look and to reflect and to experience others as part of his private experience. In this way the viewer feels himself walking in and through space, and feels the presence of others walking with their own experiences, while at the same moment experiences all of this as the installation. Notice that the private experience of the viewer also implies a moral dimension which connects the installation with how he understands the world and the ways in which he wants to live, that is, what values are important for him.

  26.1 - 13.4 2008   Wiederholte Spiegelungen/Repeated Reflections. Mixed media.
Amsterdam University Library (NL) (solo).
Dimensions 350.4 x 334.6 x 96.5in / 890 x 850 x 245cm.