Full-bodied (hum) sites the exhibition as a body and tunes the building as a musical instrument. Drawing from her studies in Ayurvedic medicine and embodied experiences of making, artist Gwenneth Boelens produces new works from brass, flax, clay, and copper. In step with the feminist minimalist sculptural tradition, Boelens’ artworks take on many forms in their refined and subtle states: a thyroid, a vessel, a neck, a drum, a shell, a shield, a cymbal, a nervous system. By taking on multiple bodily forms, the artist points to “how the shapes cover and envelop what we vitally need for our bodies to sustain, maintain the fluidity, the breath”.
Taking in the full breadth of Boelens’ refined practice, older artworks can be found in newer ones: weaving works become contact c-prints; the mesh to make a chromogenic print becomes a large-scale textile wall sculpture; lengths of newspaper spears return as shields or shells, and leftover clay is soaked and kneaded into new vessels. In doing so, the artist’s work builds its own sense of time, a reverberation and resonance of sorts, which like the body, is a crucial element in her work.
Full-bodied (hum) continues the artist’s collaboration with curator Eloise Sweetman. Together, they share an affinity for the gradual exposure of artistic experience in an exhibition over time. Their last collaboration in 2020 was This Dusk Song at Treignac Project in France. For Klemm’s, Boelens presents a new version of a work made at Treignac Project called This Dusk Song (subtle body). The large-scale installation is made of electro-conductive and reflective threads that pass over rollers, through spindles, and across pulleys reclaimed from textile machinery in the disused textile factory in Treignac. Like song and growing corpus, the artwork is indicative of Boelens: delicate, expansive, and sensual.
As a curator and writer, Eloise Sweetman is invested in intimate and atmospheric experiences of exhibition-making. A common thread in her practice is deliberately engaging in hospitality and reconciling the responsibility of putting exhibitions, texts, talks, and events into the world. As such her practice intertwines the group exhibition format with a strong emphasis on event-based programming.
Projects and collaborations have been with Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Western Australia; Kunstlicht Journal of Visual Art and Culture, Amsterdam; Cookies, Amsterdam; Treignac Projet, Treignac; The Community, Paris; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; PUBLICS, Helsinki; MADA Gallery, Monash University Melbourne; A Tale of A Tub, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; De Appel, Amsterdam; Political Arts Initiative, Leiden; Casco – Institute for Art, Utrecht; Thai Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice; and Gallery VER, Bangkok.
In 2017, with artist Jason Hendrik Hansma, Sweetman founded Shimmer, an exhibition, events and online platform in the Port of Rotterdam. She is currently co-director with Hansma. Through Shimmer Press, she published Curatorial Feelings, a book on curating, co-edited with Jo-ey Tang. With curator Kris Dittel, she is co-host of I Hope This Message Finds You Well, a podcast on curating, where they interview curators from around the world on the nature of curating.
In 2016 and 2017, she was curator-in-resident at the post-academic research centre Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. Sweetman has been a guest tutor at the Royal Academy of The Hague, University of Amsterdam, Piet Zwart Institute, Columbus College of Art and Design, and Monash University of Art and Design. Currently, she is a theory lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.
Sweetman has a Master of Fine Art, School of Missing Studies, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam and a Master of Art in Arts Management, University of the Arts Utrecht and Open Universities London.
Gwenneth Boelens’ work is concerned with touch, thought and capturing time. Throughout her work she is moving towards an understanding of our response-ability. The porous boundaries between what is internal and external are where her art takes shape. An entwinement can be sensed through abstract forms that often carry a metaphoric charge, whether by the choice of material or of subject matter. The work focuses on how we, and things, move, circulate, distribute, and the blockages that come with that movement; travelling the land, moving the body and mind, movement in communication. This movement is fleeting, like liquid, fluid. She tries to materialize the carriers or vessels of that distribution. The work is a proposal for a momentary solidification, a space between thought and its expression.
Gwenneth Boelens (1980) works and lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A visual artist since 2003, she also teaches at Art&Research, St. Joost School of Art and Design, Breda and practises Ayurvedic Medicine. Boelens was educated in photography and fine arts at Royal Academy of Art in Den Hague and was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam in 2006-07. Her work has been exhibited at MIT List Centre, Cambridge (US), Shimmer, Rotterdam (NL), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (DE), Artpace, San Antonio (US), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL), C/O, Berlin (DE), ACCA, Melbourne (AU) amongst others.
supported by the Mondriaan Fund