Entering the studio explores themes common in Van Sonsbeeck work including the notion of authorship, artistic expression and its relation to chance. The exhibition also sees Van Sonsbeeck moving into a larger spatial field.
Accidents, mistakes, miscommunication and seclusion form the foundation of Van Sonsbeeck’s approach, whose works have in various instances been vandalized, produced with mistakes and erroneously attributed. Through Entering the studio Van Sonsbeeck invites us to explore our understanding of authenticity and originality. How does the architecture of the exhibition space and its visitors transform a work of art? What if the meaning of an artwork, its appearance or indeed authenticity change over time? The show offers a glimpse into Van Sonsbeeck practice, based on her belief that a “house is a portrait of the inhabitant”.
In Entering the studio Van Sonsbeeck both grasps onto and relinquishes control, flipping the classic grand artistic gesture on its head. Upon entering, visitors are invited to walk over a large canvas that has invaded the gallery floor. The canvas is painted with Faraday paint, a commonly used material in Van Sonsbeeck oeuvre, which next to its shielding property (the paint blocks electromagnetic radiation) also scratches easily exposing the graphite layer underneath its black carbon surface – a feature initially problematic for Van Sonsbeeck, now assimilated in her practice. Over time, throughout the length of the exhibition, the canvas changes, revealing the unique constellation of the exhibition; a singular chart of chance, human meddling and time passed.
The works contained in the show each in their own way play with the passing of time, chance and intervention. Starting point for the show is the large bronze boulder created for the 2018 exhibition Into Nature. Conceived originally to stand amongst the ‘hunebedden’ – ancient graves created by peasant tribes 5000 years ago – the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands deemed the bronze too attractive for theft and thus too risky to place amongst the hunebedden. As such the boulder was set on the road next to the hunebedden, causing the work to start a life of its own. Weather conditions and human interference left oxidation traces on the bronze over time; its roadside location making it especially vulnerable to those in search of toilet. Originally conceived as work to ponder monumentality, the various interactions and miscommunications reconfigured the boulder into a microcosmos of the interrelations between objects and humans.
Entering the studio sees Van Sonsbeeck embracing the ever evolving, uncontrollable and contradictive nature of her work. In this age of limited human interaction, digital communication, controlled spaces and an ever-increasing sense of time running out, Van Sonsbeeck puts center stage the intimate moments in which interactions and chance occurrences slip by nearly unnoticed.