Persevering in solitude

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About the Artist
Text written by Caridad Botella Lorenzo (for the accasion of a solo show at Witzenhausengallery, Amsterdam 2012)

Jolanda Jansen (NL, 1976) graduated in 2005 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague; since her academy years she counts with a vertiginous trajectory having shown her work nationally and internationally. “Solitude” is her first solo show at Witzenhausen Gallery Amsterdam. Jansen is undoubtedly a pur sang performance artist in the line of Marina Abramovic’s work. Her body is her medium, her means of communication: the object and subject of her own work, as she states: “I’m very conscious of my ‘bodily physicality’, including its attractiveness and unattractiveness and the reactions of people to my body”.

Her work explores the boundries of the body, as well as it challenges its limitations: on the one hand physical resistance is at stake, on the other, the body’s tenssion created by movement and its relation to space and other phenomena. In the series “Perseverance” we are confronted with the stretch of pain: how much can our body take? How long before we admit defeat? Can we become our own live savers? A second series “Two soli”, brings forward the idea of solitude, of her sole presence and struggle in a space as we witness, from the safe distance of our voyeuristic position, how she moves, falls, crashes, etc. Both series comprise the idea of endurance regarding both physical and psycological pain. Solitude and perseverance: there is a little bit of both in each series: perseverance in solitude and solitude in perseverance. The effect is felt in our gut; it is raw, sometimes suffocating and it accepts no half answers.

In order to carry out her work, Jansen takes into account three forms of representation which explore different sets of relations: to herself, to an audience, to the camera and to different spaces. These result in: performative videos staged in front of the intimacy of a camera, live performances with an audience and site-specific performative videos. Her body engages therefore with different sorts of entities, transcending the idea of mere personal exorcism. By creating different strategies of work, Jansen not only widens the scope of possibilities and results within her own research topics but she also rescues the performer and performance as a complex form of art with a history and a relation not only to an individual’s act but also to the significance of her presence in relation to a broader context.

» View more of Jolanda Jansen’s work at

Psychology Tomorrow MagazineWhat interests inform and inspire your work?

Jolanda Jansen: I am interested in the moment that the body can move without the disturbance of the mind. In my experience, it is possible to separate your mind from your body. Physically, you can experience your limits and transcend them. The mind doesn’t have the sort of limits my body has. But for example, if I learn to control my body and my mind, it could greatly benefit my live performances as well as my performative video registrations. (I am also interested in instinctive actions, that I certainly allow to enter my work. They often arise in a flash without warning and make me do something or react in a way that wasn’t planned in my concept. Apparently our instincts are often quicker than our mind, let alone our body. Another interest is interactions with the audience. Here not only I set the limit, but infect the audience determines the outcome of the performance… These performances are investigations in interpersonal distance, trough the dominance of media, by making a video camera an instrument in intimate interactions.


PTM:  Who influenced or still influences your work? Whose work do you admire?

JJ: Amongst others Ulay and Marina Abramovicr, Vito Acconci and Elke Krystufek. I have been selected for a half year mentoring program with Ulay and he influenced me a lot in focusing on my main subjects, and to challenge myself and my body. My work also became more simple in appearance and I learned not to over edit my work. I recently saw some work of Clifford Owens. I am really interested into his work, because in his work he is exposing the underlying dynamics between two individuals through prescribed physical interactions and I am always very aware of the underlying tensions between humans. Another aspect I am interested in is that he frequently requires the audience is to engage with him, and shifts of power and perspective are at play.

PTM: What’s a recent exhibit you went to which stood out, or who would you recommend seeing?

JJ: I did a “sherapy” session with Ann Liv Young in her Sherry truck. You can set your own limits and I think she is up to any of your commands. So this is about real psychological interactions. The truck is lovely decorated with a little hot stove and a lot of pink decorations and all kinds of stuff amongst others real nice vintage little things.

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2005-2007  Dutch Art Institute at Enschede – Post graduate research and practice in Art
2000-2005  Royal Academy of Art The Hague – Fine art, 3D

Witzenhausengallery Amsterdam

Exhibitions and Projects
Witzenhausengallery__ New York_ USA_ 10th Januari till 9th Februari_ solo with performance

Art Miami__ Miami_ USA_ 5th till 9th December_ two video Presentations
Primo Piano Livingallery__ Lecce Italy_ 20th october till 17th november_ Our Future Imagined_ international video art
Art Crumbles__ Nijmegen_ 3th November till 9th December_ video installation and performance

Incubate_ Tilburg_ video-installation
Scope_ Basel_ Switzerland_ video
Metamorfose 3_ Stichting Ruimtevaart_ The Hague_ installation
Extrapool_ Diverse Universe_ Nijmegen_ Performance Art Festival_ performance
Hoogtij #29__ BH139_ The Hague_ duo presentation with Sanne Maes_ performance and video installations
Oisterwijk Sculptuur__ Oisterwijk_ performance and video installation
Witzenhausengallery__ Amsterdam_ ‘Solitude’_ solo presentation_ video installations
PAEkort #5 __ Performance Art Event_ Rotterdam_ performance during RAW art
RAW Artfair__ Rotterdam_ RAW EXPO_ video_ video-installation

Hoogtij__ BINKVIJFHOOG_ The Hague_ ‘Linked’_ artist initiative STeC_ installation and performance
Incubate__ Filmfoyer Theaters_ Tilburg_ video screening
Galerie Lange Dwars__ Gouda_ ‘Perserverance #1/#2’_ performance and video projections
Cremers 330Live__ The Hague_ ‘8 visual showcases’_ screening
Artots__ Den Bosch_ ‘Kunststof’_ performance
Het Paard van Troje__ The Hague_ ‘Antilounge’_ video

Gouda bij Kunstlicht__ Gouda_ videoprojection on location during lightfestival
Artots__ Den Bosch_ ‘Performance weekend’_ live performance
Kunstvlaai 2010__ Westergasfabriek_ Amsterdam_ artist initiative STeC_ installation and performance
Galerie Roodbol__ Gouda_ ‘Linked’_ video screening and performance

Kunstenaars & Co__ Amsterdam_ ‘Mentoring’_ mentor Ulay 
Verkade Fabriek__ Den Bosch‘Performance Art Meets Urban Diversity’_ workshop with Ingo Keil and Charlie Citron_ Artots Den Bosch_ performance
Poptahof__ Delft_ ‘FLAT_land’_ multimedia installation with Hetty Krapels and performance_ cooperation between STeC_ id11 and The Dutch Art Institute
25th Jazz Festival__ Delft_ ‘Jazz Delft’_ performance with Marlijn Helder
Zenith Festival__ The Hague_ video screening during concert
Stadsschouwburg__ Amsterdam_ ‘Boekenbal’_ video projection and installation
Artots__ Den Bosch_ ‘Underground Network’, artist initiative STeC_ multimedia-installation and performance 
Quartair__ The Hague_ ‘Flora en Fauna Festival’_ video installation and performance with Marlijn Helder
Villa Nuts__ The Hague_ ‘Exhibition Nutshuis’_ site specific video installation and performance with Marlijn Helder

BINK36__ The Hague_ ‘Performance_ 6. l’EAU’_ performance with pianist / composer Marlijn Helder
id11__ Delft_ ’The Temporary Residence’_ site specific work and performance_ Artists in Residence project
Videowall__ Stadsschouwburg Utrecht_ ‘Gum’_ solo screening
Kunstvlaai 2008__ Amsterdam_ artist initiative STeC_ ’Processing Relations’_ installation and performance
Zenith Festival__ The Hague_ screening and ‘Performance_ 4’ during concert
internet__ ’Privacy Project – Little Sister versus Big Brother’_ internet project with video and photography_ about the privet and the reaction on the privet on internet

Kunstcentrum Haagweg 4__ Leiden_ ‘Progress in Space´_ Site Specific work and performance_ artist initiative STeC
Bink 36__ The Hague_ ‘Site et Cetera’_Site Specific work and performance_ artist initiative STeC
Lipperkerkstraat__ Enschede_ ‘Here as the centre of the world’_ a trans national research project_ DAI
Kunsthuis SYB__ Beetsterzwaag_ ‘The Expanding Pie’_ research project on economy
UrbanEspressoBar__ Rotterdam_ ‘Video and Performance’_projection of work from the workshop in 2006
Villa Noailles__ Hyères_ France_ ‘For where we are we are not’_ video
Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal___ Scheltema__ Leiden_ ‘Brains Unlimited’_ videoportrait_ exhibition in which artists use scientific research as an inspiration

t’Hoogt__ Utrecht_‘Video and Performance’_ workshop by Lazy Mary with artist Mariëlle Videler_ video screening
Gasometer Oberhausen__ Germany_ ‘DAIRO’_ a live performance/concert of portable radio’s_ with Resonance FM
Nan-Hai Gallery__ Taipei_ Taiwan_ ‘Here as the centre of the world’_ installation and performance_ a trans national research project
Kunstvlaai 2006__ Amsterdam_ curated by Lisette Smits
Babel__ Utrecht_ ‘Project Projector’_ installation_ by art initiative De Zesde
PlanetArt__ Enschede_ ‘BIMRAP’_ performance during group exhibition from the project in 2005

Cinema Kriterion__ Amsterdam_ ‘Fourth Open Screen Night’_ video screening_ by art initiative Abunchofpeople_ together with the entertainment company English Casting W139__ Amsterdam_‘BIMRAP’_ DAI workshop with Felix Kubin and Resonance FM_ presentation with performances and exhibition
’t Hoogt__ Utrecht_‘Cinematiek #9’_ video screening_ initiated by Lazy Marie
de Vliegtoren__ Nootdorp_‘The Short Digital Video Festival in The Hague’_ video screening_ initiated by artist collaboration Luxus_ the experts were: André Bijma_ Anne Wellmer_ Hester Scheurwater_ Roel Arkensteijn and Ingrid Rollema

KABK__ The Hague_ ‘Stake your claim’

Oerol__ Terschelling_ ‘Vers Bloed’_ installation_ a collaboration between students of different academy in Holland

Grants & Awards
2012 Stroom Spot exhibition individual
2011 Stroom Spot Documentation
2005 An allowance for college expenses from ‘Het Kolfschoten fonds’ in The Hague
2004 An allowance for college expenses from ‘Het Kolfschoten fonds’ in The Hague
2004 An allowance for college expenses from ‘Betsy Perk Opleidingsfonds’ in The Hague

Group exhibition Funding
Stroom Den Haag_ Fonds 1818_ Stokroos_ Broedplaatsen subsidie Gemmeente Den Haag_ Gemeente Den Bosch

‘What’s up magazine, special edition’_ RAW Expo Rotterdam_ catalogue
‘Here as the cenjter of the world’_ a trans national research project_ DAI
‘Out of Mind and Body’_ with an interview by the performance and photographic artist Ulay about my work
NRC_ review_ ’Heren Toilet’_ 08-05-08





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