Curator Valerio Mazzetti Rossi about the work of Jonas Vansteenkiste
The everyday things narrate secrets - or better probability of perception between the “where” you do live, and the where “where” you gaze at - only to those who want to look and listen.
To make a table it takes the wood; to make wood it takes the tree, until reaching to the flower, which is the aesthetic process of visibility. The art of using wood, or rather the primary material conceived as natural, familiar and protective element, easy to work and easy to burn, becomes, with Jonas Vansteenkiste, a main constructive mediator.
The belgian artist, using various artistic behaviors, including installations, sculpture, drawings and photo-videos, reflects - in over ten years of artistic and exhibition militancy - on the dialectical relationship between that crawlspace which separates the emotion centers and places of memory, thanks to an admirable and compound passion for architectures.
Most of his artworks, real site-specific, dress two important epidermises. The first substrate, the deepest one, is the foundation of any interpretative application: it is the load-bearing axis of production and, thus, of being. Jonas Vansteenkiste translates into this stage his experience of reality, mixed, symmetrically, with the typical fiction of each installation and, therefore, with the idea of contemplation caused by the insertion of an object, in real scale or not, within a space. Consequently, it becomes a story that is not told but tells itself in that particular well-defined place.
The second substrate, what superficially appears to the spectator, is the architecture meant as a necessary archetype for human satisfaction. On the one hand, it is the constituent to our physical and mental wellbeing and, on the other, alternative genetics to the order of Nature. The fluorescence of the material, made-visible, organizes itself for concretizing an idea of accessibility to the spectator.
The reality is wrapped by the architectural structure, mutating itself in fact, i.e. in a container capable of summarizing the original reality. The fiction, however, translates itself into story, building a paradigm of narrative.
The final manufactured product is a reaction to the situation in which it expresses itself. The architectural research and its implementation represent not only what for the artist is important and, therefore, what the spectator will make important, but also the frustration of this expectation: the human fulfillment of a profane contemplation. Jonas Vansteenkiste’s installations are the elements that find their peace and meaning thanks to the surrounding space, which dominate "what existed before", co-existing only through the viewer's gaze. We identify Jonas’ artworks because of what we conceive, scholastically, vital and deadly.
On the one hand there is life, seen as a natural referent of human communication. The dialogue exists only if there is a reading ability. Death, instead, is the transparency of such evolutionary fragility.
Jonas Vansteenkiste, and his Mr. House, are "the imposition of me on you, you on me" because, although "a house is not (necessarily) a home", the dialogue between the nail and any lives of any spectators is a kind of "loophole" which clings to the time of things, to the time of flowers, to the time of conception of a wood and that wood seen as a model of conception.
The installations are ideological and cognitive skeletons in which the internal apparatus is made up by what we claim existing, what secretly we hide in our lives. Wood as houses are fields where the sanguineous existence ossifies our belief of human beings; it teaches our time of observation,l addressing us to one of the most readable form of art history: living nature of architecture.
Jonas Vansteenkiste invites the viewer to become a participant, an accomplice of a forward-looking research of design, not by God nor by Man, but by a religious carpenter who binds and builds a valuable report of life and death, of choices and opportunities.
Valerio Mazzetti Rossi
(1989, Italy) is a curator based in Berlin.
He has completed his Master of Visual Arts on Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths University of London, England.
After working as a gallery assistant and showcase’s director at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano-Le Moulins-Beijing-Havana, he is actually working as an art curator at Institut für Alles Mögliche and La Dolce Berlin, two art institution/artists residence in Germany. He collaborated for some projects at Venice Biennale at Biennale in Venice.