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19.02.2020 | Words by: De School

Josephine de Fijter runs experience design agency Studio Uncoated and curated our latest exhibition ‘Regeneration’, which is on show until the end of this month. Going in to the final weekends of the exhibition, we sat down with her to hear more about the process of selecting and discovering artists, and her vision behind Regeneration. 

Q: What does the title, Regeneration, refer to? 

A: I believe we are living in a time with lots of challenges ahead. For me, the biggest one we should address is mental health. We’re constantly surrounded by images and hidden rules on what we should be. I consider this to be very damaging, as we might feel like we’re never enough and might look for a solution in destructive behaviour. Personally, at a certain point I noticed that everything that makes me happy is opposite from what  I expected it to be. Which was tough at first, but later it felt like such a relief to not constantly have to live up to these immense expectations that would never gratify my needs.

I wanted Regeneration to be a feast for the sensations. We’re all different in our sensitivity to certain impulses; that’s why I tried to differentiate the artworks as much as possible. It makes my day when I see somebody looking at an artwork in full focus. That’s something we should be able to do in real life more often; getting totally lost in something unexpected. It reveals insights and perspectives we might not have seen before.

Q: How did you come across these artists?

A:  It feels like a new generation of artists are standing up to be noticed. Sometimes it can be very tough to break through the fixed structures in the art industry. For me it is difficult to understand how we can ignore the immense creative talent that is out there. Most of the time these artists can’t live from their work. Most of the photographers I have worked with have never even printed their works, let alone exhibited them. I am always scouting for unique talent. Most of the artists featured, I met through submissions for my platform for contemporary photography( I also volunteer in an artists’ house in Berlin. There I met Daniela, her work can be found in the club entrance. With friends I organize a talk show  and, occasionally, a gallery tour. All of this is meant to get a broader audience interested in art. In the process I reach out to artists that I follow. Funny enough, through Instagram I made a lot of nice connections. I use social media as a tool, but meeting in-person and getting to know each other is key. That’s when I hear more about an artist’s work and motivation to create, which I remember for when I organize something that fits a certain topic.

Q: Can you explain how the artworks relate to one another? 

A: The artworks are selected by the story the artist is trying to tell, and of course my personal impression. The latter is mostly visible in the way the artworks are placed. The works tell their own story whilst complementing each other simultaneously. My aim was to select artworks that are very different in their appeal but they each give their own perspective on the topic of being conscious of ourselves.

For instance, the first works you see when entering the club are Daniela Schwabe’s. 3 big portrait paintings made from a collage from her ancestors during the second world war. This work is meant to make the visitor reflect on the societal circumstances we live in and to consider in what manner the time we live in influences the way we dictate our lives.

The work of Marius is meant to take a step back and take your time. To unravel what you see and probably discovering that you notice more and more after staring at it for longer. In my opinion patience could be the cure to a lot of our unhappiness. There’s so much beauty around us, but if we move too fast to notice we are never enjoying the moment.

Digital fashion house The Fabricant with their work DEEP, protest against the unsustainability of fashion shows. Next to their product being very innovative and potentially improving wasteful processes in the fashion industry; digital fashion could become a great method of expressing ourselves. Questions as ‘how do I choose to look without the boundaries of my physical body’ and ‘will there be a difference between my online and real Self?. Poses the idea that perhaps digital can bring us closer to ourselves by having limitless options to experiment with our identity.

Linfa the work of Bruna Mayer is my all-time favourite. To be honest this work has almost always had a place in one of my exhibitions. It stands for release and accepting our inner-beauty. “It’s vomit”, is a common response. Most viewers either love it or can’t stand it. This is what I strive for, because within this tension is where magic happens.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the work of Studio Hongjie Yang? 

A: His design studio is pushing the boundaries of what kind of resources we can use to make materials of. In this case, human tissue. Some people react shocked but it is very interesting where we let technology brings us. Due to not being able to control the surrounding factors for such a delicate “living” piece, we unfortunately could not show the actual work Human-Vase. Instead we’re showing a sealed miniature version. 

Q: Besides curating the exhibition, you’re also showing your own work ‘Visual Wash’ in the aula. What’s the idea behind this video installation?

A: It’s a project I have worked on for 1,5 years. My design challenge is always to immerse the viewer with the emotions that I feel whilst making the work. For a long time, I wanted to recreate the feeling you get of being totally captivated by something you see. You sort of loose your sense of time and place.

You can call it a visual meditation. The sound was composed especially for the work, Christian Grothe aka Kryshe, who’s well-known within the sound healing scene in Berlin. After visiting one of his classes I knew I wanted to work with him.

I feel like we are constantly trashed by so much crappy information every day. There’s always a commercial goal behind the need of reaching you. I want to make our connection with images more human: we have the ability to direct and choose the content that we like to consume, and does bring enjoyment and makes us receive emotions on a deeper level. The starting point for this is to pay attention and notice how our bodies react to certain sensations and triggers. This process of searching for yourself whilst opening up your world to new experiences, that is what I wanted to reconstruct. I hope to being able to design more of this kind of experiences for people, especially in environments where they expect it the least.

Regeneration can be visited during club nights. Entry fees and house rules apply.
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