Karin van Pinxteren
Part of Someone’s Diorama
24 March - 3 June 2012
Karin van Pinxteren ('s-Hertogenbosch, 1967) produces two- and three-dimensional work, spatial installations and performances. Language plays, along with the image, a significant role. Themes give the work its coherence.
The art of Karin van Pinxteren revolves around the desire for contact, with the other and with the surrounding space. At the same time there is an awareness that a true encounter is out of the question. Though the mind can run rampant and explore the most remote corners of space, the body remains subject to gravity. Similarly, the relationship with the other has its limits, due to our physical and psychological make-up and barriers in human communication.
Karin van Pinxteren has made her art a stage for the continual oscillation between the act of approaching and that ofmaintaining distance, between seeking intimacy and withdrawing into oneself. In her work this theme takes shape in austere spatial installations, poetic writings and concise images.
The 'hostess' is a recurrent motif. In her impeccable suit, this character constitutes the key figure in Van Pinxteren's performances and video works; business-like and poised, but also helpful and obliging. Through the anonymity of her outfit, she inspires trust and directs the audience's attention to herself. But the words in ink, stamped on the visitor's hand by the artist's alter ego as a means of granting access to her exhibitions, are less noncommittal than her appearance suggests. One text reads Inhale with me. Those very words now hover, as a small appeal, above the grey pedestal on which Van Pinxteren places the stamp and inkpad during her performances. Liberated from its role as an accessory, leaning against the wall, the pedestal itself has become sculpture. In the slide image next to that, the artist seems to be grappling with her own role: I confess, I am an artist is the title of the projection in which the hostess, seen from behind, tries to maneuver the pedestal.
The ellipse is another motif that continues to crop up in work by Karin van Pinxteren. Since this motif resulted from a performance in 2000, it has begun to lead a life of its own. In her sculptures, the ellipse often functions as an opening. It constitutes a frameworkand gives the eye a focus. The oval-shaped opening can also offer a view to another space, or—as in her paintings—be the entrance to another dimension. In the architectonic installations—referred to as existential spaces—the light sources have an elliptical shape; in wall sculptures this is an abstraction of the human face.
Van Pinxteren explores her language of forms in an intuitive manner. Court Dance IIand a soft spot for a proposal (2009-2011) consists of seven white, perspectivally vanishing ellipses. Not until two years after its completion did the wall sculpture assume its definitive form through the addition of a circle of soft carpet on the floor. The red dot literally gives the visitor a place in the work, inviting him to participate in this court dance arranged by the artist. 'I seek the greatest possible purity, a rendering that is completely crystallized,' says Karin van Pinxteren. Throughout that process, the personal has become anonymous and abstract in order to make room for the visitor.
'It's mulled over dozens of times' and 'The surrounding voices change'are phrases from one of the five works in the series The Correspondents (2011-2012). For this series Van Pinxteren has made use of excerpts from correspondence with five other artists. The lines mentioned above describe precisely what happens in Court Dance II—and for that matter in every intriguingwork of art.