MARJOLIJN VAN DEN ASSEM – AWARENESS OF APPEARANCE
In TENT, Marjolijn van den Assem presents an exhibition that unfolds like an indomitable stream of thoughts. The performative side of her art practice, in which thinking is a physical action, is given free rein.
The grindstone of her thinking is the contrarian work of the nomadic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. On the border between drawing and performative writing, she enters into a dialogue with his books, letters and travels. What does it mean to sharpen your mind on that of another? Van den Assem follows the trail of Nietzsche's walks and chews the cud on pieces of text to start a stream of thoughts and allow herself to be carried to the limits of her imagination, regularly putting her physical limits on the line.
The source of inspiration for the enormous series of drawings that Van den Assem has made in recent years are Nietzsche's reflections on our relationship to reality. She draws on his 'Joyful Science', named after the 'gaia sciensa' of the earlier troubadours, whom he saw as free spirits. Nietzsche experimented with mocking poems and tantalizing aphorisms with concentrated insights that keep thinking alive and fluid, just as the world in and about which we think is always in flux. Impatiently Van den Assem tries in turn—with ink, pencil, knife, staple gun and where necessary the use of her full weight—to pin down her thoughts in motion, until they are played out or burst at the seams. And each time, next to or behind each attempt, another image emerges.
In addition to an exhibition, 'awareness of appearances' is also an artist's book that was published in 2021.