Louisiana Museum of Modern Art presents Belgium’s greatest living artist – Ann Veronica Janssens. During the darkest months of the year the public will have access to works in which the light is the bearing element. The exhibition HOT PINK TURQUOISE takes over the South Wing of the Museum, giving Janssens her first major exhibition in Scandinavia.
Over the last few years, many visitors to Louisiana have paused in front of a mesmerizing gleam of gold in the surface of an aquarium. On scrutiny, they have realized that the artist is playing with our sensory perception, such that we do not quite understand how what we see has been produced.
The artist is Belgian Ann Veronica Janssens (b. 1956), and this jewel of contemporary art could be more well known. Janssens’ art is fundamentally experimental in character, but unlike the experiments of science, nothing is to be proven by the artist or in the art. Janssens unleashes what we do not already know.
Janssens’ work stands quite unequivocally on the shoulders of artists who attempted in the post-war years to deconstruct the monumental character of sculpture – that is, the European tradition from Constructivism to Op Art, and not least the American ‘optical minimalism’ arising in California in the 1960s and which in the history of art goes under the name ‘Light & Space’. Parallel Janssens’ originality has left clear traces in contemporary art.
Janssens’ works range wide, but they can all be described as sculptures that use the space as a stage for sensory activity. The simple white architecture of Louisiana’s South Wing becomes a resonating surface for Janssens’ both fragile and dizzying art – fragile because the works and their components are very simple while their effect elevates them above the material. Janssens herself often uses the word ‘fluid’ to describe the effect of her works – even for example when they consist of a 6.5 metre long iron girder polished at the top so the room is reflected and it is hard to fix your gaze on the object. Janssens seeks no control of either works or viewers, for as the Dutch theorist Mieke Bal has said, Janssens’ artworks are at one and the same time object and event.
Many of the works in the exhibition can evoke the sensation of standing at the threshold of something. They stress transitions and transformations between on the one hand a material level – evoked by glass, colour, liquids and not least light – and on the other hand a dynamic experience of time and space. This may sound abstract, but the exhibition is in many ways one long but concrete and bodily experience of how, by looking more closely at something, walking around and into a familiar material world, we activate a curiosity and an attention to ourselves – a potential we can even take with us when leaving the exhibition.
Based on the press information
“HOT PINK TURQUOISE”
Ann Veronica Janssens
23 January – 21 June 2020