Nests in Everyday Things: Lisa Sharp Reviews ‘Found & Made’ a Group Exhibition including Annelies Jahn

The exhibition FOUND and MADE, including Annelies Jahn, Pollyxenia Joannou, Joe Wilson and Michael Bennett and curated by Amber Hearn, is on at Stacks Projects, 191 Victoria St. Potts Point until Sunday 12 March 2017.

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“ The mind sees and continues to see objects,
while the spirit finds the nest of immensity in an object.”

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958), 190

With a discerning sensitivity, artist Annelies Jahn seeks out the potential for moments of poetry embedded within, even disguised as, the everyday. These may consist of seemingly mundane objects, apparently discarded things, the measured and drawn space occupied by her works, her studio or her body. Carefully selected (found), then made (or re-made) and presented as art works these objects or sites are re-presented, and in this re-enactment an unanticipated encounter presents itself. The familiar, the known and the disposable become unfamiliar, unknown and fixed in the mind; a poetic space.

In her consistent exploration and evocation of space as a finite container of infinite possibility, Jahn evokes the idea, so well described by Bachelard, of space as having a quality of intimate immensity. We look and with our minds we see the work and it is a familiar object. As we look longer, we begin to perceive more; prompted by a whisper of memory or a moment of deeper recognition. Jahn’s work, this art object, whether a made, found or a repurposed thing, is often small, deceptively simple, frequently provisional, yet it has been made visible by selection, vulnerable by display, and the encounter invites a falling into a reverie of meditation. This is the nest of immensity; the warmth of contemplative discovery which Bachelard described as a species of daydreaming.

Compressed Measure, Silver foil wash tape housed in found acrylic box, 17.5 x 6.5 x 3 cm

The group exhibition Found and Made includes three pieces, found and made by Jahn. There is ‘Flatpack’, a cardboard piece of disarming humility. There, the usual container for space, a box, is flattened, excluding physical space from its planar form. Then there are two related works; ‘A resting Measure’ and ‘Compressed Measure’. The first is a clear, manufactured rectangular acrylic prism, placed horizontally on the floor. The second is a carefully coiled bundle of silver wash tape, housed within an open, clear acrylic box. One shape is formed and derived from the artist’s body measurements, the other from a de-installation of a wall drawing, yet both are sealed, finite containers of physical space – whereas the space they evoke is not. The Bachelardian idea of a nest within the object perfectly captures that daydream of space as an unseen presence that expands and contracts, like breathing.

Flatpack and A resting measure, Cardboard 130 x 92 x 20 cm and Clear acrylic 25 x 162.5 x 25 cm

While dream-like, these encounters arise out of rational systems of visual-spatial representation that always underlie Jahn’s work. Attention is drawn to the geometry of forms, composition, balance and location in space. There is an absence of gesture, drama, scale and permanence. Instead there is stillness, exact placement, intense observation, nuance, care and ephemerality. We are left to ponder how, (yes how) such rectlinearity so welcomes human complexity.(Stilgoe, John R. Foreword to Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958)

And so we see and we ponder … could the slivers of a modulated conversation be wound tight and contained in a roll of used tape? Is a crumpled relationship mapped by the soft sagging of flattened cardboard? And can an artist’s footprint cascade into a crisp-edged clarity of light, precise planes and right angles …

 – Lisa Sharp

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(All images courtesy of the artist, Annelies Jahn)

Lisa Sharp is a Malaysian-born Australian artist, writer and curator currently living and working in Sydney. Following an earlier career in the law, she recently attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with Honours in Painting) at the National Art School. Lisa likes to write and muse about art, art making and artists and her blog is at www.lisa-sharp.tumblr.com

Exhibition details are available at http://www.stacksprojects.com/

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