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17.10.2016 | Words by: Mathis Neuhaus.

The art is everywhere by now. On the plates in the restaurant, in the garden, the basement and the wardrobe. And, obviously still, in the tried and tested Kunstlokaal. During the week of the notorious and excessive Amsterdam Dance Event Dutch artist Gabey Tjon a Tham will present her work ))))) repetition at my distance in the space of big windows and little boundaries. 

Regular visitors to De School may remember the time when Children of the Light slowed down the proceedings in Het Kunstlokaal, hypnotizing the audience with their perfect circle. Gabey Tjon a Tham’s work will also hypnotize you, but this time around, it will be speed up: 16 rotating vertical blue light wires hang from a grid and oscillate in spreading patterns, manifesting themselves in a choreography that shifts back and forth between the natural and the robotic. A choreography that is defined by shapeshifting, acceleration (and consequently: deceleration) and losing control. The in-between of the two mentioned poles, the natural and the robotic, characterizes Gabey’s work: “I feel that often we see technology as something alien and threatening to us, but I always try to look for a connection between the human and the technological. Technology is something that we have created ourselves. It has been defining humanity forever. Making fire, building tools: all of this began at a very early stage and leads me to the derivation of seeing technology as something that is inseparable from our nature.” In addition to the visual matter ))))) repetition at my distance relies on sounds that tenderly meander through the room. The wind, locked out as a physical force, is present as a sonic element, combined with the artist’s own whistling and composed in a post-produced sound collage. 

The accelerating light wires resemble ecstatic dancers, lost in the moment and at ease with their intuitive motions. The space and its roamers will add an additional layer to the work and the conversation with Gabey steers towards the impact of exhibiting in used environments, distanced from the sterility of the White Cube: “When I was a teenager I went to 11 and Trouw quite a lot and I also went to see the exhibitions there. I find it really special to be able to exhibit in De School myself now. I like to make site specific pieces. The space is very important for the development of my work, it helps shaping it and vice versa. De School is obviously not a White Cube, it has a certain atmosphere and definitely provokes unexpected encounters of sorts.“ Unexpected and unpredictable, because perceiving ))))) repetition at my distance is an individual process. Two persons never see the same: “In the work you see these afterimages, almost like an afterglow on your retina. You may see some pink and also some white streaks. It is very subtle and highly individual, because it is about what your own eyes make of it.“ 

Further she says: “I come from a background in drawings and paintings, but throughout the years my work evolved into spatial installations. I always found that a drawing missed a physical space that can surround and immerse the perceiver. A painting’s inherent time and space is different to the time and space of an audience that sees it. I always wanted to have these two things together.” The audience, again, acts as a collaborator that makes the work complete and function. Come closer during October’s exuberant nights and let the haunting sounds of wind and whistles echo in your head.
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