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What You See is What You See - Group show

Galleries Ornis A. Gallery

Hazenstraat 11 
1016 SM Amsterdam
+31 (0)6 49812676

Open Wed - Fri / 12-18 hrs
Sat / 13-18 hrs
+ by appointment

19 Mar — 23 Apr

Time 19 Mar, 17-19 hrs


Bonno van Doorn, Untitled, 2016, 80 x 60 cm, LED painting

Artists Hanae Wilke (1985 NL), Bonno van Doorn (1977 NL), and Jóhanna Kristbjörg Sigurðardóttir (1982 Reykjavík, Iceland) exhibit their work in Ornis A. Gallery and are to be seen in the group exhibition "What you see is what you see", covering paintings, sculptures, installation and film. What these artists have in common is their desire for setting up a new environment, a vacuum if you will, in which the beholder is strongly encouraged to perceive the artworks from a blank slate perspective. However, we should not regard this as being a purely formalist manifestation, for all three artists are everything but merely interested in the formation and composition of colour and form. The coming about of divergent mental states in relation to the physical presence of their artworks is just as important. 

Jóhanna Kristbjörg is preoccupied with the concept of repetition, while refusing to look at colour and form as being neutral elements. Every perception of colour and form is emotionally driven, because the viewer is never an objective camera, registering the world around him in an unmediated way. In her so-called [Neo] Constructive-Emotionalism, Kristbjörg composes layers of different media through her abstract visions, emotional approach and formal repetitions. The search for a communication between the inner and the outer self of the viewer is what preoccupies her, being expressed in her overall performative approach.  

Language, or rather the discrepancy between what is said and what is understood is what interests Hanae Wilke. She takes as her starting-point the physical gesture of language, then playing with what could be considered wordless emblems, surfaces of signage, where the eye traces over curved steel, attempting to find words within the word-like gestures. We could say that Wilke aims at translating scripts, through sculpture, into a bodily experience, thereby distancing itself from its original symbolic meaning; there is clear interest in the material manifestation of the word. The physical structure of her sculptures bears witness to the coincidental discoveries made during the creative process of handmade production. This all culminates in a characteristic combination of feather light, fragile aesthetics and a daring rawness of form and material.                          

The loss of fully fixed signification is what occupies van Bonno van Doorn. He aims at offering a counterweight to the continuously identifying and interpreting of prescribed meanings, metaphors and symbols. His work comprises the existence of an unspecified, non-objective in-between-space in which everything floats around freely and time after time succeeds in escaping the onlooker’s gaze, compulsively looking for concrete explanation. This new artistic universe equals a place where our automatic process of identification no longer holds true and in which every object leaves us in doubt. A not yet differentiated or still unexplored territory is created here, confronting the viewer with the possibility of abstract meaning lying beyond our habits in explaining visual signs.                                

Fragmentation and free association are paradoxically spoken forced upon us, where our instant recognition of function fails. What you see is no longer what you ought to know – disorienting your senses is what happens here. In the famous words of Minimalist artist Frank Stella: What you see is what you see. All three artists are working from the shared starting-point of a fundamental refusal of strict functionality, leaving room for subjectivity, contingency and purposelessness.


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