Perception of Space
Ernesto Neto, installation view
Perception of Space
May 20 until August 1, 2004
Ann Veronica Janssens
How is space experienced? At the international group exhibition Perception of Space, four artists show installations that focus on the sensory experience of space. From May 20 until August 1, 2004, the set-up can be seen at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
Not only the phenomenological or optical perception of space plays a part, but the mental and physical sensation of it just as much. The artists play a deliberate game with the parameters of perception through a strong interest in optical phenomena and different modes of consciousness. Especially in an age when the ‘classical’ relationship between man and his direct physical environment is subject to strong changes, because of the increasing presence of virtual reality, cyberspace, and an overdose of media experiences, it is not surprising that artists have a renewed interest in the way space is experienced.
Perceptions of Space shows a number of installations in which the relationship between the viewer and the space surrounding him plays a central part. For this, the artists make use of highly varied ‘materials’ such as light, sound and movement.
Massimo Bartolini (1962, Cecina) designs infinite spaces that focus the physical experience of the visitor and thereby also put the mental awareness to the test. With Bartolini, there is always a one-on-one relationship with the given space. By fusing every architectural element – door, wall, floor and ceiling – the area changes from an external space into an internal experience.
Ann Veronica Janssens (1956, Folkestone) literally works with the different parameters of perception. She creates situations that appeal directly to our visual faculties, and push them to the limit. Using light, artificial mist and other, sometimes very simple means, she manages to evoke strong perceptual reactions. On an entire wall of the Bodon gallery colours are projected in an extremely fast rhythm. Blinding, afterimages, dizziness and deceleration are the effects Janssens is interested in, and which the viewer will experience firsthand in a violent way. With her work, Janssens wants to make the imperceptible perceptible.
Ernesto Neto (1964, Rio de Janeiro) has made a spatial installation especially for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s large middle gallery. Hundreds of meters of a nylon-like material have been transformed by Neto into anthropomorphic volumes, in a simple but effective way. Working from traditional sculptural principles, Neto manages to create spaces that literally invite the visitor to enter. The organic spaces of semi-transparent and swaying material not only add a strong sensory experience to this space, but also attempt to evoke sensations concerning the relationship between body and spirit. Certain psychological processes become almost physically tangible. Firmly in the tradition of illustrious Brazilian artists such as Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, Neto expresses his interest in experimental forms of perception.
Mark Bain (1966, Seattle) investigates spaces or buildings on the basis of sounds which – audibly, but usually imperceptibly to the normal ear – are present in them. Using seismographic and other technical equipment Bain registers and amplifies these sounds at a central point, in such a way that the sounds make this central point vibrate. He also links these sound vibrations to a laser beam which provides a visual translation of them. In his work, Bain transforms the perception of architectural space into a fascinating interplay of vibrating sound waves and a pulsating laser beam.
Note to the editor:
For more information and visual materials, please contact Mirjam Gouweloos, Publicity & Marketing department of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, telephone (0)10-4419561;
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the web site www.boijmans.nl