“crushes, demorfs shapes, objects and point of views”
Elsemarijn Bruys is the artist of the moment. Her practises as a visual artist and spatial designer are at its core hybrid. Her work “crushes, demorfs shapes, objects and point of views” in a still beautiful – and sublime – way. This year, she was an artist at Lente Kabinet, showing off her ability to work in every environment. Her work, Artificial Landscapes, is an experience like no other, making you feel something only the art itself can describe. We got the privilege to catch up with Bruys before the festival to talk about her work, her philosophy, and everything in between.
Gc: How are you today?
E: I’m good!
Gc: Could you describe your craft in your own words?
E: I make sculptures and installations, mostly with textiles and plastics. There is almost always a force of tension and movement in my work. I actually put motors inside my art to create literal movement.
Gc: Woah that’s really cool. Where do you derive your inspiration from?
E: The experience of feeling textile. I like to begin my process starting with commonly shared objects, for example, the bomber jacket. This jacket is special because of how people across various cultural (subcultural or mainstream) groups wear it. Somehow a garment like this is able to transcend social barriers and people are able to express themselves with it in so many different ways.
Gc: I love your series Moving Mirrors. Could you tell me a little more about this piece?
E: The pieces are doing a composed choreography together. So while you can tell that they’re connecting with each other. Also, the material presents you with a morphed perspective of your reflection.
Gc: How is art a form of escape for you from the outside world?
E: I don’t know if there is an escape, and if we should want one…I think with art you can at least try to shift some perspectives. We need to face the ugliness of the outside world. There is so much beauty in that. There is this theory I really like from Edmund Burke. There’s beauty and the sublime. What makes the sublime different from beauty is the natural sense of danger in it. With these Artificial landscapes, you walk through this attractive colour and soft shapes but it might be a little claustrophobic or scary, but that’s good – that’s when it starts to enter the sublime.
Gc: Could you walk me through your work for Lente Kabinet?
E: One of the kinds of theories that I’m interested in is artificial landscapes. I love to play around with how much air is inside objects and observe the shapes that playfulness creates. It feels so natural; an organic way of moving in a lifeless object. I call it also mimicking nature. At Lente, there is this row of trees and I make a hallway inside. It feels a little bit like a limbo. And the colour inside is exactly the opposite of the green, so it is A very bright orange. It’s a bit intense on the eyes but it emphasizes the green that’s surrounded it even more.
Gc: What were some of the challenges, if any, did you face when making this landscape? This hallway?
E: Well, it’s 380 meters of fabric. So it’s a constant struggle with a lot of fabric and a machine – I’m sewing it myself.
Gc: Lente Kabinet is not only a celebration, of music, art, and culture but also the reopening of these worlds in a festival context. What are you most looking forward to on the festival lineup?
E: I’m really excited for Nèna and Half Queen.
Gc: And what can we expect from you in the future?
E: This work will travel around to Big Art in Amsterdam. I also have a solo exhibition at Contour Gallery Rotterdam coming up on the 4th of September. I’m presenting all new works there. I will also be showing work at Schemerlicht in Nijmegen which is exciting. I’m thinking about doing projects that include the act of wrapping. But this year it’s mostly inflatables.
Gc: So you’re basically just not sleeping this year then!
E: Well, I’m okay. I love making this stuff so I find it exciting!
See more of Bruys at:
Big Art Hem gebouw – 24-26 june 2022
Contour Gallery 4 sept tm 16 okt 2022
Schemerlicht festival 21 t/m 30 oktober 2022
Images courtesy of Lente Kabinet and Elsemarijn Bruys
Words by Ella Paritsky