Tanja Engelberts – Future Maps for Hollow Places
Antoinette Nausikaä – A River Runs Through Me
In this duo-presentation both artists Tanja Engelberts and Antoinette Nausikaä investigate the intersection between man and nature. Tanja Engelberts (1987) investigates the duality between the romantic landscape and its economic reality in today’s world, and how this landscape is being exhausted and robbed of its natural resources. While Antoinette Nausiaä’s research revolves around places where nature and urbanism intertwine. By using different media such as photography, ceramics and drawings, she observes and analyses the interconnectedness within a certain environment and how we experience ourselves as part of the larger whole.
This year, Tanja Engelberts has just finished her 2-year-long residency at the Rijksakademie. The exhibition consists of the offshore projects she has been working on for the past 4 years: the changing North Sea landscape of oil and gas platforms that are disappearing, in which she also examines our changing attitude towards this fossil fuel industry. In her artistic practice, she wonders what happens to processes that people set in motion, but which have consequences that will manifest themselves long after our own deaths.
Decom is a portrait of a decommissioning yard, the place where platforms come to die. The huge structures are lifted from the sea and are broken apart, recycled, and re-used on land. The film is devoid of any people — the machines have taken over to clean up the scraps of man.
The scrapyard has its own flow, and the film has the same rhythm: it is very slow and then all of a sudden there is a burst of violence. You also see a similar cycle at the sea when an oil or gas field reaches the end of production. Operators stimulate the field through fracking, which means the pressure drops, a violent explosion occurs and the oil flows back up, then they repeat the process.
The film oscillates between very tranquil wide shots, that introduce this otherworldliness, close-ups that show the violence, and the machine-perspective where the viewer becomes part of the violence.
Future Maps for Hollow Places (2021)
When a platform is removed, nothing remains visible for the bare eye above the water surface: nothing refers to the history of the place. With this work, Tanja imagined what people would see in the future if they would fly over the seascape, looking for signs of the past. The photographs are taken with a drone that is searching for something, which contributes to the feeling of trespassing and secrecy. The viewer can activate the dark surface of the water by taking a flash photograph, Treasure finder, Barnacle, Indefatigable, Vanguard are all names of fields on the North Sea. The reflective surfaces referencing the name signs on platforms, always visible at night.
Since 2020, Antoinette Nausikaä has been working on her latest project A River Runs Through Me in Paris. Here she takes the ancient river Seine, which runs through the cultivated and hectic metropole, as her working field. Although the big city is often seen as separated from nature, Nausikaä mainly sees how the two are inextricably linked. A River Runs Through Me, Paris was nominated in 2020 for the Somfy Award of the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam.
Mountain Earth Figurines
Antoinette’s new work Mountain Earth Figurines (2021) is a tangible reminder of her earlier project Breathing Mountains (2018). She produced the sculptures from clay earth that she collected from various ancient sacred mountains in Europe and China. During five years, she was researching the balance between man and nature and lived around the mountains Olympus (GR), Ararat (TR) and the Great Five Sacred Mountains of China (Wuyûe). The ceramic Fossil Plates (2020) are part of her river project and made directly on location on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. In this series, Nausikaä explores the interconnectedness in the metropolis by making the millions of years old fossils visible again in her clay prints and placing them alongside our contemporary daily life.