Joran van Soest | WARP #12
Joran van Soest, studio view at EKWC, 2023
Traveling between places and mediums, Joran van Soest explores complex social environments and the ways such structures influence individual perception. Driven by the will to understand interactions and ways of relating, the artist creates work that offers himself and the viewer space to connect and reflect on social constructs, collective and individual behaviors. At the core of his practice are stories he collects into an archive, stories of self-transcendence, which in turn inspire the artistic works and their essence.
During his exhibition at SEA Foundation, part of the WARP series and in the frame of the currently researched fold #08 on Spirit, Joran van Soest will form a new context in which he questions people’s perception of the world around them and the function of memories. This newly formed context aspires to broaden what people usually expect from an exhibition and create a dialogue around it.
The exhibition presents works shown for the first time; a selection of core materials from the artist’s archive, part of his ongoing research across mediums. Ceramics, 3D videos and paintings will be displayed to create a universe within the universe of SEA Foundation and a series of moments which visitors are invited to interpret and rethink based on their own experiences.
Moving through Mediums
The last five years, during his post-academic period, Joran van Soest has been collecting different media into his archive, a selection of video and photography works, drawings, writings and objects. The archive extends throughout his studio, a space with multiple rooms, divided according to mode of creation: a painting room, a sculpture/installation room, a print materials room and rooms of so-called fragments. Moving in-between those rooms, his practice is spatially formed as a mind map, conceptualizing and then transforming fragments into images and objects.
Although he has extensively focused on 2-dimensional works, the artist has a multimedia approach to which he is currently focusing primarily through video, performance and installation. The mediums are interconnected and communicate in the research-related and practical stages, in the form of collage making. For instance, experiences and meanings taken from performances are pointed out and connected in collages. This helps the artist recall parts of these performances that can create his space of interactions, reflect and add emotional layers to it. In his method, the simple object or event becomes a starting point towards understanding the complexity of lived experience.
The Practice of Traveling
Through performances, Joran van Soest attempts to retell stories collected through his travels and connect newly gained experiences to his place of origin. In a reverse approach, traveling is perceived as a way to develop a deeper understanding of home, question and explore the conditions of a safe personal space.
The artist moves through cities where he navigates physical spaces and redefines his positioning as a visitor. He writes travel journals, collects materials, creatively intervenes in public spaces and feeds those actions into his archive. The studio back home becomes a hub of personal encounters, filled with collages composed from this process of exploring contexts. Personal space is seen as a core space for reflecting but also broadening individual perception in relation to the world.
Interested in the personal myths people create to make sense of their surroundings and in what he calls cliché stories with universal meaning, the artist dives into unfamiliar situations to explore the need for connection. In his work, rudimentary objects collected in these away-from-home situations are utilized to recreate this exact universal feeling.
Joran’s practice aims at creating contexts for stories to be shared. By traveling to unfamiliar places and adopting the outsider’s perspective, he attempts to understand the sense of belonging and reflect on his home environment. For him, the process of traveling is a very individual one that allows the emergence of a clearer understanding of interactive elements.
Going back to his studio initiates the process of retelling stories through fragments and reproducing or shifting contexts. This goes hand in hand with the need to share and understand how his experience relates to others and how the process of relating works. Staging and exhibiting his personal experiences translated into artworks, Joran van Soest invites viewers to engage, re-interpret and recall their own memories and experiences and attempts to create the conditions for subjectivity to naturally happen. Within the exhibition, he wishes to recreate a type of public space, one that is activated and continuously fed by a line of actions, memories and associations.
Bio Joran van Soest
Joran van Soest is a Dutch visual artist who graduated in 2018 from the Art Academy AKV St. Joost in Hertogenbosch. His relationship to his surroundings has been the focal point of his research. From innocent origins to a complex adulthood, physical companionship to thoughtful contemplation and submissive power versus overriding dominance. Joran moves between these extremes and defines his own definition of Intersubjective Space.
He exhibited his work mainly in the Netherlands in places such as Het NoordBrabants Museum, Art Amsterdam and Go Mulan, Amsterdam. Van Soest was a resident at EKWC (European Ceramic Work Centre) in 2023 and Parallel Art Foundation in Budapest (HU) in 2022. Berlin Residence 2021 (with Monika Dahlberg) and De Fabriek, Eindhoven in 2020. In the past years he has been nominated for prizes like Tent Academy Awards 2018, Piket Art Prize 2018, and AG Eindhoven Kunstprijs 2020.
Joran van Soest website
Collaborator for VR works: Hugo Brandwijk