Ann Veronica Janssens Interview: Passion for Light



Step into the laboratory of an artist whose main material is light and who invites the spectator to join her in discovering. Whether solid, liquid or gaseous Ann Veronica Janssens uses light in all its forms “to show the manifestations of reality in a different way.”

Janssens shares her thoughts on how she conjures up her mindboggling sculptures and immersive installations, which are often the result of accidental discoveries – new ideas pop up in the most unexpected places, for example whilst mixing a vinaigrette salad dressing. Serendipity, she explains, is a core element of her approach to making art. “This idea of discovering shapes or elements in happy accidents … and from these happy accidents in life or meanderings, you may notice a phenomenon, a move or a colour, and you can subsequently develop more complete research.”

Ann Veronica Janssens work with objects such as aquarium installations, some containing oil, some containing water: “The spectator discovers for instance that the light refraction index is different for the water and the paraffin oil. He is questioned by what he sees, he immediately gets the idea that he has to move and experiment this object under all its angles.”

Janssens grew up in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had little formal schooling as a child. She harboured a passion for light and art and would spend hours watching the sky and the reflections of light on the ocean. Her work comes out of this idleness, she says: “It’s the time of idleness that allows us to observe and discover other phenomena, to decipher that other reality.”

This attention to light phenomena has persisted into adulthood and she now tries “to reveal it more in order to share this experience.” Her work revolves around the ephemeral; movements, things that escape. Her minimal sculptures seem to counter rationality and her installations made with mist engulf the viewer in poetic, timeless environments. “Sometimes you have to erase reality, the visible, in order to see something else, to make the invisible visible.”

Ann Veronica Jannsens (b. 1956) creates installations, projections, immersive environments, urban interventions and sculptures that explore the sensory experience of reality. Her work has been shown at places like the Lyon Biennale, France, the 48th Venice Biennale, Italy, at the Hayward Gallery and Tate Modern in London, UK, the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, USA and at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. She lives and works in Belgium.

Ann Veronica Jannsens was interviewed by Christian Lund at her studio in Bruxelles, Belgium in April 2016.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Klaus Elmer Madsen
Produced by Christian Lund

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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