Lisa Maartense | WARP #05
Studying the stone, Lisa Maartense, 2021
30.09. – 23.10.2022
and Michaela Davidová
This exhibition is part of
art and sustainability program
in fold #05 on Awakening
Lisa Maartense is a Dutch artist based in South Holland. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Arts in Enschede. Maartense’s work centres upon the experience of encountering through a process called “The Finding of Finding Things”. She collects and dissects a variety of things, often unimposing and ordinary, that she comes across on walks and in everyday life. These “things” range from pine cones or tree branches, to stones, and even curtains. With analog photography, castings, screen printings, and stained glass, Maartense asks how we can connect the appearance of “things” in the world to their properties and materiality.
Maartense spends much of her time on long walks and in nature. It is here where most of her “encountering” takes place. Much of her work is inspired by nature and forms we find there. To encounter is about the act of exploring and looking at objects anew, shedding off our previous knowledge about them. Maartense refers to these objects as “omnipresent” because they are ordinary things that we find all around us. A pine-cone is an example, or even light. Her photosensitive installations of Chromosphere I & II (2021) present us with painted circles on a blank wall. Their colours change according to the intensity and type of light they are exposed to. Throughout the day we witness nuanced shifts in colour exposing both light and colour as deconstructable elements. Maartense approaches objects as a discoverer, taking both art and science on this journey. For Maartense, both strive to examine this world that we find ourselves in. They ask, “what is it?” or “how can I explain it?”. Instead of searching for concrete answers, her practice finds itself in the act of w(a/o)ndering and in the process of undoing the properties and materials that constitute things.
Studying the stone
Encountering in this sense ties Lisa Maartense’s work into SEA Foundation’s Awakening fold. Maartense tries to strip away preconceived ideas about a thing and reworks its identity by dissecting the essences that define it. We are invited to join Maartense in a type of forgetfulness of what we know, and begin anew the journey of exploring the ordinary but beautiful. With her investigative installations, she suggests that we approach things as if we have never seen them before. Her work encourages us to pose questions to things that do not normally fit these inquiries. For Maartense it is not unusual to ask a pinecone; “how do you work?”. In her Studying the stone (2021) installation, she subjects stones to various “tests”, like boiling, mapping/drawing, photographing, or making casts of their shapes. Through this type of documentation, the stone takes on new faces and we see different possibilities for their existence. Maartense’s work opens up the practice of awakening to the various realities of objects’ identities. It also awakens us to the open-ended exploration that this makes possible.
Maartense’s work explodes the boundaries of the things she explores. Through the practice of archiving and collecting, she investigates not only the object itself, but what it can become. Here, the question of a thing’s Being becomes subordinated to the dynamic processes of its Becoming something else. Maartense says “when I recreate the stone and make it through and with a different material we can ask: when does a stone stop being a stone? Is it still a stone? What is “natural”? Where are the limits of this object?” Her work shifts the boundaries of a thing’s identity through a playful nod to scientific experimentation. Her installations invite viewers to take part in pushing the threshold of the collected objects. This provides us with a new way of looking at nature. Often natural objects seem timeless and solid, like mountains and sand, but Maartense imagines these simply as points in time. Peeling back the on-going processes that natural things go through, and the relationship we can have to those things. Ultimately, her work exposes a fundamental interconnectedness between the elements of objects and the structures through which we define them.
The exhibition is part of WARP, a series of vitrine exhibitions which were activated in 2020. These exhibitions now also follow the SEA Foundation’s folds on art and sustainability. Their aim is to stimulate artistic research and present the adaptations of the works made by regional artists or artists with regional connections.