Something exciting is on the horizon. It is Lydia Janssen’s book launch/exhibition entitled Spotlight / Dance to Art open to the public March 8th-10th, 2020. ‘Dance to Art’ is Lydia Janssen’s first Monograph. Published by SKIRA Milan and written by Ian Findlay-Brown, it is a 20 year retrospective on her journey from Professional Dancer to Fine Artist. With roughly 80 painting images and several interviews, Findlay-Brown’s prose explores how dance and art, once separate art forms, have fed and continue to feed each other, evident in Lydia’s prolific career.
In this exhibition, Lydia Janssen has been investigating the psychological phenomenon known as The Spotlight Effect. The idea of constantly being watched; under a spotlight. Regular earthquakes shake the ground, and the almost daily Balinese/Hindu ceremonies stir up the ever present spirits. Coupled with the constant comings and goings of people, vehicles, animals, Lydia has felt a sense of frazzled movement, upheaval, and scrutiny. This finds itself onto her canvas in the form of faces and limbs tangled, mangled and flowing over one another like in an improvisational dance.
The exhibition will feature 15 ‘SPOTLIGHT’ paintings that Lydia has painted from her studio in Nyuh Kuning in Bali over the past 18 months.
Also featured is an installation art piece with photographs of the artist’s twisted and naked body. Here, Lydia collaborated with French photographer Celine Andrea, whose confrontational work highlights both the perfect aspects of the nude female figure, while sometimes focusing on the grotesque. Lydia felt that the Spotlight paintings initiated a need for a more in-depth conversation. The photographs are there to further provide the three dimensionality and a microscopic focus that she wanted to explore. Lydia needed to feel her physical reaction to the photographer’s spotlight, the photographer’s gaze and her husband’s gaze, while being photographed naked. The voyeur vs the exhibitionist, narcissism vs modesty, condemn vs condone, adorn vs deform and this multi layered event being done from the vantage point of a 43 year old mother to three children. Could this microscopic examination of her body provide her with a deeper painting narrative? Could it free her mind? The experience involved a new gaze, several in fact, and it was this new gaze and new orientation that resulted in these confronting images. This thought provoking body of work resonates with today’s world of unrealistic body ideals driven by social media.
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