Vanessa Jane Phaff
“What is it that makes Vanessa Jane Phaff’s work so sharply attuned to the times and, at the same time, so anachronistic, full of doom and promise, so fascinating and uncanny?” (L. Hanssen)
Phaff’s work centers around adolescents. Whether they appear unapproachable, malicious, rebellious or melancholy, they are self-assured and assert a claim to the whole world. Her work originates form the childrens experience, they show the world out of the point of view of the child. In this reality, one thing seems to apply most of all: the desire for and the failure in making contact with the other.
Phaff renews media and forms of expression for expressing traditional motifs of mythology, fairy tales and religion. To this end she presses linocuts on canvas, works with felt pens and pencils, employs strong, two-dimensional coloration.
“Phaffs use of the image surface has an alienating effect: the human figures are approached with remoteness, from below, from above, always from a distant perspective. They are part of a complex of lines and forms in which they do not dominate, but rather represent a human drama that must endure the spatialness of an inaccessible play of lines and colors. The more two-dimensional the canvas, the more oppressive the suggested space and the more ghastly the imagined drama. The viewer therefore has the tendency to order the incongruous information and adjust it. But he is unable to reconcile the uneasiness, imposed on him by the work, with the apparent charm of the children’s images. There remains a fear that the door to this world cannot be opened.” (L. Hanssen)
“Mirror Cabinet” is Vanessa Jane Pfaff’s first exhibition in Austria. It will be taken over from the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem and accompanied by a catalogue (articles by Mirjam Westen and Léon Hanssen, € 22,-).
The project is realized with financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam