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Ephemerality in art and life: Michael Janssen Berlin at Art Brussels 2022


For the Art Brussels 2022, Michael Janssen Berlin united nine artists, whose artistic experimentations actively engage with the idea of ephemerality in art and life. Inspired by nature, urban patterns, digital imaginary, ancestral embroidery techniques, traditional oriental painting and possibilities of abstractions, the artists have created the kaleidoscope of enigmatic landscapes, which seek to capture the fragility of the moment.
Art Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen

Art Brussels
28 April—1 May 2022
Stand A. 72

Stijn Ank, Louis Cameron, Jana Cordenier, Yafeng Duan, Lili Dujourie, Margret Eicher, Monique van Genderen, Gulnur Mukazhanova, Yonamine

For the Art Brussels 2022, Michael Janssen Berlin united nine artists, whose artistic experimentations actively engage with the idea of ephemerality in art and life. Inspired by nature, urban patterns, digital imaginary, ancestral embroidery techniques, traditional oriental painting and possibilities of abstractions, the artists have created the kaleidoscope of enigmatic landscapes, which seek to capture the fragility of the moment.

The central installation of the booth belongs to Belgian artist Stijn Ank. EOS is a continuation of his personal odyssey, which started with the work Becoming Body shown at Art Antwerp. The title refers to the ancient Greek goddess of dawn, Eos of the rose fingers, who embodies Odysseus' journey from immaturity to wisdom. Delicate albino corals, Ank’s biomorphic sculptures materialize in space like emerging dawn, mesmerizing with their apparent fragility. The molds, however, are created with a variety of “rough” materials such as wood, aluminum, rubber and clay. During the casting process Ank mixes pigments with the liquid plaster, letting the material decide its final shape. The artist calls his works ‘stances’ or ‘subjects’ as they define themselves on the basis of the relationships with both the viewer and the space. Ank’s alien subjects evolve continuously until they finish their cycle — like a day that travels from dawn to dusk.

Another Belgian artist Jana Cordenier grasps and documents the momentary, experiencing her surroundings in an intimate way — being immersed in them. The gentle play of her ephemeral strokes and marks is a result of Cordenier’s collaboration with nature. The artist creates her unique landscapes by spreading out the canvas on the pebbly surface of the ground and highlighting the outlines left by the plants and stones underneath. Her delicate, luminous works illustrate a moment caught in time.

In contrast to Cordenier’s delicate abstractions, the pioneer of contemporary tapestry in Germany Margret Eicher interweaves well-known motifs from classical paintings with iconic images of popular culture in her large-scale textile works. Her tapestries La Grande Bouffe and Post Human Dance of Death depict phantasmagoric landscapes replete with cyber and visual messages that convey associations of temporality of human life.

The works of Angolan artist Yonamine are also deeply influenced by the images from pop culture. He appropriates street art aesthetics to reverberate the echoes of colonial politics in today’s world. Blending history with personal experience, he shapes a frag- mented narrative of the African continent and of his own identity.

Likewise Yonamine, who captures the moment using a wide variety of creative techniques, LA-based artist Monique van Genderen develops her language of abstract composition through the individualistic vocabulary of brushstrokes and mediums. The spontaneous interplay of biomorphic forms, luminous colors and quirky geometry of whimsical shapes innate to her works creates physical experiences in dimensionality and illusion.

Louis Cameron’s Collage Paintings are a visual diary of Berlin seen through the lens of the artist's heritage. His abstract, conceptually driven works are inspired by the patchwork patterns of African American quilts. Textures and patterns he finds on the streets of Berlin are intimate recollections of the moments that cannot be experienced again. This fragmented visual narrative creates a distinguished portrait of the German capital with glimpses of the American South.

Gulnur Mukazhanova uses the traditional craft of Kazakh artisans to examine post-nomadic identities and alienation from indigenous communities caused by global capitalist processes. Her delicate hand embroidered work from the series Moments of Present made with ancestral Kazakh techniques embodies a fragile identity trapped between West and East.

In her black and white photo series from 1977, Flemish visual artist Lili Dujourie delves into the exploration of intimacy and self-reflection. Following the principles of Arte Povera, Dujourie endows a naked female body with the significance of an art-statement. A dark silhouette depicted in motion captures an introspective moment filled with deep existential melancholy.

Finally, ethereal landscapes of Berlin-based Chinese artist Yafeng Duan are inspired by the thorough observation of nature. The influence of traditional Chinese ink wash painting, which the artist studied from a young age, is palpable in her broad brushstrokes and fine lines that unveil an abstract play of associations on the canvas. Layering color surfaces in such a way that boundaries are sometimes accentuated and sometimes merge into one another, Duan seeks to capture the essence of the moment and reveal its eluding beauty.

Text: Karina Abdusamalova

Art Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael JanssenArt Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael JanssenArt Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael JanssenArt Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen

Art Brussels, Installation views, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen

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