Michael Janssen and Künstlerhaus Bethanien are proud to present two parallel solo exhibitions with Belgian artist Stijn Ank. Both exhibitions are entitled STIJN ANK - FRESCO.
During his residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Ank digs deeper into ‘the surface of the work’. Essentially his quest comes down to the question of where the surface in his work ends, and where space begins.
Ank finds answers in approaching a fresco as the translation of an act from which the artist is trying to make himself absent. The work itself activates space, and makes us see that space afresh. Using the back of a painting's canvas as a mould in which layers of pigmented plaster are poured, works appear that cannot be defined as sculptures, because they behave too much as surfaces. Nor can they be called paintings, because they have a body that reflects their subjective willingness to find a space behind and within the canvas. Therefore we should look at them as subjects, creatures with a life of their own, frozen in the space of the canvas.
On show at Michael Janssen is a selection of this new series of works in the canvas, originating from a daily studio investigation during Ank's residency period in Bethanien.
At the Künstlerhaus, Ank has made his most challenging site-specific work so far. Having researched the nature of the surface of a fresco in a canvas, he wanted to do the same with a fresco in space. How substantial can a surface be? The Künstlerhaus fresco activates its surroundings by an act that is essentially a questioning of space, light, color and time.
Stijn Ank, Fresco, Installation view, 2017, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin