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Breathing Matter by Jana Visser and Fanny Libert

Textile art is in the spotlight in this exciting exhibition that runs from 25 May to 15 June. Opening on Saturday 25 May between 2pm and 6pm.

Breathing Matter by Jana Visser and Fanny Libert
Breathing Matter by Jana Visser and Fanny Libert

Time & Location

25 May 2024, 14:00 – 15 Jun 2024, 18:00

Bruxelles, Av. de la Reine 266, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium

About the Event

Textile art is in the spotlight in this exciting exhibition that runs from 25 May to 15 June.

Opening on Saturday 25 May between 2pm and 6pm.

Live performance with Fanny Libert and guests Eugénie Defraigne and Lydie Thonnard.

Open on Friday and Saturday between 11am and 6pm.

Breathing Matter

Mediating between dualities of presence/absence; fullness/emptiness; active/passive; beginning/ending; giving/receiving; internalities/externalities, Jana Visser (South Africa) seeks a logic of reciprocity and becoming through the framework of her weaving practice. Her interest lies in the relation between weaving, breathing and thinking. The inwards-outwards passage of breath provides a symbolic reflection on weaving gestures, which also depend on constant rhythms and the entanglement of seemingly binary forces; the outwards giving horizontal weft and the inwards receiving vertical warp.

Weaving is not merely an interpretation of creation. It is creation. The meeting between two sets of threads; warp and weft, is analogous to unending dualities and interconnections. The weft provides what the warp receives. The weft bestows the warp with an essence, while the weaver’s hand endows it with a spirit.

Like the primary brushstroke of a painting, the moment of inserting the first weft encompasses both unity and capacity for variation; the one and the many. The first thread, as the primordial breath, is drawn from an entangled bobbin of yarn –separating itself from entwined chaos and weaving a new universe of interlacing threads. Filled with metamorphic and transformative potential, it is as if each length of thread is a breathing exhale filled with metamorphic and transformative potential. Thus, weaving is not similair to breathing. Weaving is breathing. Far more than a means to create textile, it is a vital method of internalising, of gaining knowledge and fundamentally a way to exist; or rather to become.

This notion manifests itself in vague verticals attempting to transmit the construction of a weaving, horizontal traces which suggest the active weaving weft, or curving and swaying undulations refusing to settle as neither vertical nor horizontal yet not immune to gravity’s pull. At times the weft is absent which exposes the warp threads to ethereal domains of shifting atmospheres or movements.

Image and surface become one. Material and process become inseparable. The woven image, however subtle or vague, and its physical matrix develop in tandem. In essence, the canvas is the content. Weaving is process, but also becomes image, whereby the structural warp or traces of weft threads remain visible. In their vulnerability and susceptibility, these threads are given the space to become or to even be undone – obscuring the boundary between beginning and ending.

Jana Visser is a textile artist and designer originally from Stellenbosch, South Africa. In 2019 she completed her Bachelor studies in Fine Art at Stellenbosch University. In 2021 she obtained a Bachelor’s Diploma in Textile Design from LUCA School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. In the following year she completed her Master’s in Textile Design also at LUCA School of Arts for which she received a Magna Cum Laude. Her master's thesis titled, "an emptiness that breathes" was nominated for a Thesis Prize as well as the prestigious Dirk Lauwaert Award.

Visser's work has been exhibited in multiple galleries and institutions in both South Africa and Belgium, including the Design Museum in Ghent, and forms part of private collections in South Africa, Belgium and Germany. Recent exhibitions include Verweven/Entrelacés at Schönfeld Gallery, After the Toil at Myüz Gallery, Zomer Salon at Kunsthal Ghent, and I try to imagine how your texture felt like at St. Peter’s Church of Ypres. In October 2022, some of her textile works were on display during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. In May 2023 her work titled “in the almost” was shortlisted for the LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize.

Captivated by weaving as both an art-making method and its conceptual capabilities, Jana Visser searches for a sensibility of direct, intuitive expression as she makes her way into thinking. Grounding her practice in an openness to uncertainty, she navigates between controlling method and media, whilst considering relationships between matter, time and space. She views this as a source of meaning-making, and a means to explore the viability of sensory perception and embodied experience. Her methods are slow – requiring patience and time in order to grasp both their material and symbolic potency. There is a desire to know more about the self, the value of rhythm and gesture, and how thread may serve as a conduit for accessing a dimension beyond the tangible.

Fanny Libert (Belgium) is building an original sound oeuvre through various collaborations with musicians. In Breathing Matter, she gives the textile works and the house their own score, adding layers to unravel.

The installation takes possession of the space and offers a moment of expectation and suspension. Silence becomes sound. The visitor is challenged to actively engage with the artworks. The artist creates the space and openness necessary for general awareness by paying attention to coincidences; the more or less fortuitous encounters of a ray of light through the blinds, a door slamming a few floors down and the visitor's privileged presence in their liminal space.

Fanny studied piano with Boyan Vodenitcharov at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Brussels, composition with Claude Ledoux at the Royal Conservatory in Mons, and regularly takes part in workshops and courses with Wim Henderickx, Joëlle Léandre and other traditional musicians.

Here she forges special links with performers of her generation, with whom she sets up various types of projects, ranging from instrumental ensembles (chamber and solo) to certain forms of musical theatre and mixed music, or involving other media.

Her compositional practice revolves as much around writing for different ensembles and performers as it does around more collaborative forms of composition, with particular attention paid to exchanges with instrumentalists throughout the creative process.

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