Lennart Lahuis and Alexandre Lavet share a strong interest in the fleeting and disposable nature of images and representation. In order to slow down the viewer’s gaze their works constantly seem to hover on the verge of ephemerality, disappearance or absence. Their joint presentation aims to engage the viewer to make an effort to question both the status of the exhibition space, the work of art and the fragility of the information we consume.

Durst Britt and Mayhew

Installation view

Since the use of typesetting in his clay tablets (Land Slides, National Museum of Ceramics Princessehof) Lahuis has been intrigued by pre-digital typeface specimens. In typography, a typeface is a set of one or more fonts each composed of glyphs that share common design features. Words on typeface specimens are usually meaningless: empty symbols judged by their physical characteristics. Lahuis wanted to use these texts as an image by rubbing them into denim, the same way the shape of a phone can be seen as a trace on the fabric of a worn down jeans. He looks for a cultural, political or emotional association that some of these words or phrases carry.

Excerpt from Luuk Hoogewerf's text The pain of the country

Sentiments Supra-Individuel
Text, coins and keys rubbed into denim. 90 x 75 cm each
Le Sentiment National
C-Print on wood, wax and paper on glass. 130 x 330 cm

The tryptich 'Le Sentiment National' takes a largely unknown text by Kurt Schwitters as its point of departure. The first part of this text seems to be a sincere attempt to reflect on the concept of nationalism. Slowly the text starts to shift until at the end he unexpectedly confounds the very definition of it in a typically dadaist way by suggesting nothing less than a 'shared sentiment of nationalism', or a form of 'global nationalism'. This process of blurring the notion of nationalism is mirrored by the technique that is applied to reproduce this text.

Personal annotation

Le Sentiment National, detail
Wet Scene Study No. X [Doubled by Feeling]
Water on PVC floor. Dimensions variable
Wet Scene Study No. X [Known Elements]
Water on PVC floor. Dimensions variable

So it’s fullness and modesty in front of natural phenomenons doubled by feelings in things where we can see the work of time and men. He sat and opened up the book about the craft of intervening (DEDALUS, S.. To pass in repose the hours intervening between Thursday (proper) and Friday (normal) . Dublin: Ithaca, 1953.) where he could read the following words:

— So, all my endeavor, in part, is connected with a childhood memory, which is dear to me. It’s not the reason why I started, but it relates with what I’m doing at the moment.
— Could you share with me this recollection?
— Sure, why not. Long time ago, I read in a comic strip, on the back of a magazine.
— How old were you?
— I think nine or so.
— I see, go on.
— And, it showed how to photocopy your hand. Or, your ass, your head, or you know — laughing — things that a child would do.
— Yes, that we see so often in films — smiling.
— Yeah. And, in the comic, at the end, the users of the photocopier were angry because of blotches, stains, spots of dirt, fat traces of hands, and stripes going through the documents that they want to photocopy.
— That’s funny! — laughing in amusement.
— I really liked that!
— What did you like in it specially?
— I guess, I like the idea of manually intervening in standardized processes of reproduction.
— And, this connects with what you do, right?
— Yes, I come up with techniques, materials, procedures that are very physical, and I use those to intervene in standardized modes reproducing texts and images.
— In other words, interfering, going in between, interrupting the flux, the streams (of images and texts that flow around us, to ground them into physical reality.)
— Yes. I use certain qualities of offset printing, lithography, I use the frame as an object, or a restoration technique for burned paper.
— So, different connections with an existing printing technique. And, as I saw, they allude to some kind of temporality.
— Yeah, and always a flat surface, it can exist in space, but never as a volume.
— Like with your wet scenes.
— Yeah. It has a specific kind of materiality. I really like this moment when you spill a liquid and it’s a meaningless form. So, I thought about stylizing these meaningless shapes into letters, to make a moment central in the work when matter turns into meaning.
— Of course, it began with a shapeless, meaningless form to meaningful traces, which would be a letter.
— Yes. I was quite interested in this borderline. When something issues form, matter or meaning. That’s how I started writing in water.
— I always thought you were a kind of alchemist.
— You know, my texts evaporate during the day.
— Someone has always to feed it, right?
— Yes. It’s always susceptible to the context. The state of the text is determined by where it is, by whom takes care of it, and the attention it gets, also.
— Where do you find them?
— What?
— Your texts.
— It comes from encounters that happen with an article, or a book, in philosophy, or sociology, or anthropology. Any discipline or subject that resonates with what I’m thinking about at that moment.
— What are you thinking about at the moment?
— About two lovers only connected by telephone.

Excerpt from Inked characters fast fading on the frayed breaking paper by Tiago de Abreu Pinto