BLISS

16 February - 29 April 2023
Overview

 

Nature, spirituality, natural forces. BLISS is the name of the new exhibition at Rademakers Gallery in which various artists and designers are inspired by these themes. Ancient rituals and symbols are mixed with contemporary stories and techniques. BLISS makes us think about our relationship with nature and the value of spirituality - in the past, now and in the future.

 

In addition to well-known names such as Joana Schneider and Tomáš Libertíny, Pien Rademakers selected for this exhibition a few artists of the new generation, like forest ecologist and visual artist Milah van Zuilen, who brings art and environmental science together.

 

While for Tomáš Libertíny the relationship between man and nature, both psychological and physical, serves as a constant source of inspiration. The artist often works together with nature, whereby its beauty and intelligence fuels his work. 

Sentinel Revisited (2021) is such an ode to nature and the mysteries that drive life to exist, thrive and prosper. This monumental sculpture is inspired by honeybees, their architecture and intuitive craftmanship. As the title suggests Sentinel Revisited, produced in a small edition, touches upon the famous Arthur Clarke’s short story Sentinel of Eternity (1951). The beacon of light and colour emerges as a familiar form found in nature that is in a continual state of growth and change. It is an antidote to these times. It wants us to slow down and take a deep breath. Then the rest will follow. Libertíny also shows his ongoing Bluescapes series of works on paper, wood and canvas using BiC ink. The power of its unique blue color in the Bluescapes works give us the feeling of being overwhelmed by space and nature. 

 

Distant Worlds

Jorge Mañes Rubio’s artistic practice revolves around the intangible power associated with certain objects and images, creating works that celebrate a world inhabited by a diversity of beings —whether human, non human, material or spiritual. His unique approach reimagines sculpture as active matter: something that can be handled, experienced, and ultimately activated.

For BLISS he’ll be presenting some of his latest works in combination with Peak of Eternal Light, the result of his artist-in-residence at the European Space Agency ESA. Working in collaboration with their Material Research Lab, Mañes Rubio had access to lunar regolith simulant (a material used by ESA to replicate moon dust) and other rare aerospace materials that he used to create a series of intriguing objects. Mixing rough lunar textures with lavish golden decorations, through these masks, vessels and precious regalia the artist brings together once again science, art and ritual.

Reframing the Moon as sacred territory, Mañes Rubio challenges the exploitative and colonial patterns that historically are taken for granted in space exploration. His statement: “My dream is that through the Moon we’ll learn to embrace our fragile position in this universe, to understand the larger-than-human dimension that defines our very existence. Reconnecting with this purpose will pave our way to the stars.“

Encouraged by the teachings from shamans in Mexico and Korea, Mañes Rubio’s work embrace a circular conception of time, where spiritual power does not belong in the past, set in stone, forever immobile, but is rather seen as free-flowing around us in perpetual circulation: a fascinating world where past, present and future can happen at the same time, forever linked through objects, peoples and places.

 

 

Beauty of waste

In a different way product designer and artist, Jule Cats is fascinated by the - spiritual - stories materials carry with them. In her objects, she searches for the emotional value and beauty of materials that usually go unnoticed or are seen as worthless, such as rubble from demolished buildings. 

By combining concrete remains from the demolished houses with acrylic resin, she creates handmade, limited editions of interior objects in which she preserves its history and gives the material a new life. The objects, such as vases and lamps, show the beauty of the waste product, they evoke wonder and curiosity and literally offer us food for thought. 

At the BLISS exhibition, Cats will show four new 'In Disguise' vases and four 'Rise' lamps in new color variations. She also shows a new sculptural light as well as a lilac 'Flow' mirror, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also has a spiritual starting point.

For this collection made from recycled mirrors, natural minerals and acrylic resin, Cats searched for the perfect reflection. Inspired by these mirrors, she wondered to what extent memories and time can be controlled. Cats considers mirrors to be time capsules because so much time and stories are stored in the material. By using recycled mirrors, Flow says something about the many reflections that have been before ours and that many more will come. The new collection visualizes letting go of time and lets us move along with its whimsical, undulating shapes.

 

Immersing in something bigger

Catalijn Wouters uses her intuition and shows her spiritual experiences and a high degree of sensitivity while working on her painted works on paper and linen. “When I turn off my thoughts, reason and expectations are gone, and I am free. When I research, experiment and sketch without a plan, when I capture something with my brush and remove it, when I cut and paste, the most beautiful things happen,” she says.

 For BLISS Wouters makes four large works on paper measuring 1 x 1.40 meters. She will also show a new box with drawings and paintings in which she incorporates her spiritual experiences. 

As she vividly remembers when she was twelve years old, she climbed, all alone, the steps of an enormous rock. When she reached the top, she found herself face to face with the wild ocean. For her, that was the first spiritual experience at a young age. She felt that there was something bigger than herself that empowers her and that she is a part of. Thus, spirituality is the key to the infinite subconscious. “When I work, something takes over and that feeling is magical. Like I'm not there. Not in a dramatic sense, but precisely in the sense of being absorbed into something bigger.”

 

 

 

Both as a visual artist and a forest ecologist, Milah van Zuilen aims to bend the disciplines of art and ecology closer together. She uses fieldwork as a method to explore the human urge to understand and divide landscapes. Also central to her work is the square, a shape that characterizes this human perspective on the land.


“I feel very deeply that nature is everything to me. When I see the destruction of nature, it touches me very much.”


During fieldwork, she gathers leaves, which she transforms into an entanglement of squares and grids. The pieces from this series bring together a range of species from various countries and regions, blurring borders and biomes. The pieces invite the viewer to experience nature’s connectedness.

 

“My fieldwork feels like a ritual. The process gets me into a meditative state of mind.”

 

 

Text: Viveka van de Vliet

Works
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