This show is the outcome of a short summer residency period at PARK, platform for visual arts. They‘ve offered Van Doornum to work and present his work in their monumental space, a former chapel. During almost two months van Doornum has created a spacious installation that reaches into the corners of the space. The installation consists of several new sculptures and architectural interventions.
Van Doornum comes from a small, traditional village in the east of the Netherlands and has therefore become interested in the position of traditions in our lives. Van Doornum focuses on the role of textiles in society and how it functions “A commonly used way to convey your chosen identity is by wearing matching clothing. Throughout history textile has had this role.” says Van Doornum. Differences expressed on the street are elevated by the artist to sculptural details. The sculptural property of the puffer jacket for example, has led to a series of works around it.
According to Van Doornum, PARK’s space requires a big gesture. Previous ideas and parts of works has led to new compilations, together they create a space-filling installation that includes various communication layers. This installation could be experienced as threatening. Many of the works consist of sharp edges and pointy rear-ends. To the artist they are not necessarily about aggression or danger. “A point at the end of a metal rod is also the maximum reach of the material trying to escape.”
Many of the works on show have an urge to escape. Besides of escaping, this can also be seen as an act of reaching out and connecting. The larger line works in the space are transcending into a network of signals and communication, which manifests itself in the focus of the viewer. Through communication masts on the wall, a stream of data as large as the internet can be felt. Something that connects us, but at the same time it drifts us apart.
In the installation at PARK, Van Doornum’s objects function as architectural altars; they provide direction without being symbolic. The promise that something was present shines through. The central absence of people is very present: the body dies; the object – the coat, a table – remains. Van Doornum’s work is sharp, but at the same time soft and hopeful. It goes up as a divine gesture and seems to want to escape. It is this game, between here and there, that Van Doornum has used to control PARK’s monumental space.
Photography: Jasper van Aarle and Jonathan van Doornum