Van Geffen is about halfway through life and is noticing mortality in everything around her now more than ever. What disappears when someone dies, and what traces do you leave behind? The exhibition consists of a combination of previously existing and new work, varying from the sound installation Media Vita, the video installation Hand Over, and the sensory multi-part Eat Love Die.
Van Geffen makes the viewer think about their own relationship to life and death, as can be clearly seen in The Last Month (2020). Ten films always show the same hand. Sometimes the hand moves busily, sometimes it seems to comfort itself. The hand moves more and more slowly, loses color, life slowly disappears. The artist carefully zooms in on different emotions and creates poetic images. The references to classical images from our rich art history are subtle.
The photos from the Unfocused Days (2018) series refer to the mysterious, misty dream portraits of painter Matthijs Maris.
EAT LOVE DIE
In the triptych Eat Love Die (2020) several representations of the cherry can be seen. The first part shows a black and white photo of eight cherries. The second part is a video recording of a red-painted mouth that eats all eight cherries. The wick is spat out towards the viewer. The stem is artfully knotted to an eight with the tongue. Finally, all eight stems are neatly arranged on paper and framed. Tasty - or not - is the eternal question of the highly symbolistic work. The eight cherry stems are shaped into a lemniscate, the ∞ sign of infinity, in this way they form a sensual counterpart to the continuously present death.
Central is the installation Media Vita (2019-2020), created following the death of Van Geffens father. He liked photography and collected photo books; his collection numbered more than a thousand. What was Van Geffen supposed to do with it? She went looking for the meaning of the books and the photos. Strolling along the open books - mainly about classic black and white photography - a story in pictures unfolds that tries to capture a life from start to finish, and back again. You can also hear the famous photographers, their quotes escape the books in a whisper.
Museum Tot Zover offers an ideal context for the work, as the museum tells about how we deal with death, and is located at De Nieuwe Ooster Cemetery. The works shown enter into a dialogue with the visitor and highlight the theme of transience, but also always touch on subjects of life and love.
Roos van Geffen (1975) makes sculptures and installations in (public) space. Her work consists of performances, photography and video. From personal fascinations, she investigates philosophical and existential themes such as fear, desire and transience.
Van Geffen has a background as a stage designer, a discipline in which she is trained to find an abstraction in complex structures, which she translates and shapes in time and space in a recognizable and almost natural way. She uses this quality in her current practice, materializing encounters and experiences and making abstract concepts tangible.
The serialized works arise after lengthy documentary and process-based research. She often enters into intensive discussions with her research subject; community (as with Drift, Black School, Chrooma) death (Hand Over, Media Vita) or with the self (Blurry Days). Roos van Geffen creates precisely composed, concentrated and often intimate images that tap into our unconscious, emotional layers. She invites her viewers to look in detail and with more attention, creating a different, sometimes surprising reality.
This first retrospective exhibition by Roos van Geffen Eat Love Die is made possible in part by the Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, the Mondriaan Fonds and Stichting Stokroos.