Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21 Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21 Amsterdam Art Week 17–27 Juni 21

Brigtte Kowanz Neon aluminum mirror IPhotograph by Stefan Altenburger

Mirrors/Mirages delves into the ability of light to both reflect and refract reality. Light is generated, dispersed and obscured, and through apertures, mirrors and diverse sources of light we are invited into worlds that intertwine the material and the virtual, the inner and outer self. As these worlds converge, our understanding of reality begins to shift.  

In the paintings of Lieven Hendriks, prisms and other magical reflections create mirage-like visuals that capture a deep urgency to see something. Like the desert Fata Morgana, Hendriks’ works are driven by desire and imagination – a form of optical illusion that since antiquity has been a core aspect of the visual arts. From the renaissance to the present day, artists have contemplated whether to hold a mirror to nature, or represent it the way they wish to see it. 

Whilst historically light and its effects have played both subject and muse, the work of James Turrel uses it as a medium. Light, the immaterial and ephemeral, is granted a sense of form and solidity. In Howdy doody (magnatron), this pioneer of light art has made what appears to be a television, but on further inspection opens into a deep space filled with oscillating light. This subversion of our sense of light and space is echoed in the work of Ann Veronica Janssens, whose Magic mirror functions as a portal opening up into a magical universe of blue. 

In the creations of Brigitte Kowanz, light’s connection to color is severed. Instead, she opts to use an obliterative white. Here, light and its ability to carry information is central to her practice. Within her reflective spaces, our sense of orientation is warped, and we are brought into a limbo between a material and immaterial reality that feels all too familiar in today’s digitally saturated world. 

Similarly, Iván Navarro has created uncanny and infinite spatial constellations. In Mirage, he has formed a miniature black hole where everything seems to collapse into oblivion and danger lies in wait. 

The objects of artist collective Troika (Eva Rucki, Conny Freyer, and Sebastien Noel) contain a phantasmagoric, infinite and almost liquid spectrum of colors, with the vibrancy of an endless loop of sunset and sunrise. The sunset is arguably the most extensive and ubiquitously photographed natural phenomenon. Here, Troika takes an interest in our collective longing to freeze-frame and capture this perpetually fleeting moment. 

Meanwhile, Sarah van Sonsbeeck’s light installation tantalizes us with the possibility of clinging on to this blissful moment – but for how long?

Mirrors / Mirages

Lieven Hendriks (NL, 1970), Troika: Eva Rucki (DE, 1976), Conny Freyer (DE, 1976) and Sebastien Noel (FR, 1977), James Turrell (US, 1943), Bri- gitte Kowanz (AT, 1957), Sarah van Sonsbeeck (NL, 1976), Ann Veronica Janssens (BE, 1956), Iván Navarro (CL, 1972), Jonny Niesche (AU, 1972)

  • Sunday 27 June 14:00–15:00
  • Conversation
  • RM Sunday Session