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My artistic practice is rooted in and reflects art traditions of the early modern times that were impacted by literature, religion and philosophy. I sense a deep connectedness with this period, in which I recognize a position that does not separate between activity and materiality, and that is crucial to our anthropocentric present.

 

Reading is an activity that creates an involvement with other modalities of thinking and living. During the process of reading and interpreting, I recognize my own intensions and I bring to life historical voices; moreover, as Walter Benjamin wrote: “Not we identify with them, they step in our lives”. 

Often, poems, quotations or metaphors trigger my artistic activities and the outcome of creative action stays part of this textual point of departure. Having, as a student of painting and comparative literature, examined mainly art theory of the late 20thcentury, since then I mostly concentrated on texts that influenced extraordinary avantgarde artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian. What did they learn about themes like presence, meaning, intensification and appearance from the Symbolists, Vitalists, Theosophists and Animists they read? Which aspects of these theories are still relevant and applicable in my work? Works such as “About the Safety of Knots and Laces” and “Pound’s Appearance” are concerned with these questions that primarily belong in the realm of aesthetic experience. 

 

The way in which early modern times looked at nature-culture relations is a thematic aspect that oscillates through my works. Frequently, I recognize an ecological consciousness in these embossed forms (Aby Warburg) that should be handled as an alternative for our mechanic and exploitative nature-culture interpretations. Works such as “Tabernacle”, “Sedes sapientiae” or “Sukka” address historical genres and content that challenge the conventional nature/culture dichotomy. Indeed, for me, the windows, fountains, doors and stairs that ghost through my work, are forms that negotiate between nature and culture, inside and outside, closeness and distance, presence and absence.

 

Through my activities I create images that remain part and are enclosed in those activities (in the sense of Jean François Billeter). The layering of materialon a carrier of stretched textile fabric, the activity of painting over, the oscillation between pressure and back pressure, norm and deviation, are creative stages that remind one of geological and biological processes of creation and destruction. In images like “Mesenchyme” and “Digging the (W)Hole of History” I make these correspondences explicit. In formally more complex works such as “We of the Shore of the Euphrates” and “If We Are True We Are So At Night”, the fragility of life permeates the images on various levels. Here, too, the images should pave a way for the viewer and open before them a disappeared or imagined liveliness: painting is opening.

 

Marjorie Jongbloed, December 2021

© 2023  M. Jongbloed

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