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Jana Visser  is a textile artist and designer from South Africa. In 2022 she completed her Master’s in Textile Design at LUCA School of Arts in Ghent 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.


Mediating between dualities of presence/absence; fullness/emptiness; active/passive; beginning/ending; giving/receiving; internalities/externalities, Jana Visser 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. 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.

Audiotour of Breathing Matter with Jana Visser (live 1st of June in the presence of the audience).

Listen here:

Video interview during the residency at Queens Brussels.

Watch here:

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