2019 #2

Am Schwarzen Himmelsrund

by Awoiska van der Molen

I sink into a kind of nothingness when in complete solitude. In this calm state of being the senses are more receptive to everything that’s actually invisible: the energy of a place.

The isolated scenes depicted in Awoiska van der Molen’s photography are the kind that awaken more senses than one’s sight. In whatever environment pictured ­– a woodland thicket, a flowing rivulet or a mystical geological formation – the scale and lucidity of her depictions are so exacting that as a viewer, one becomes as absorbed in the moment as the artist was in its creation. ‘I sink into a kind of nothingness when in complete solitude. In this calm state of being the senses are more receptive to everything that’s actually invisible: the energy of a place.’

This is not unintended. The artist deliberately discloses no information about the geographical location of her images and uses numerical characters for every title. Any further information is a cause for distraction, one that might prevent the viewer from reaching what Awoiska refers to as ‘point zero’ – a certain state of mind that humankind has long severed ties with. Her images hold no trace of any specific place, memory or subject, rather, she aims to recreate her own experience in a particular moment, with the intention to pause the viewer’s brain for a while ‘so it can just “be”.’

Awoiska might journey alone for weeks at a time through nature. Moving through every landscape imaginable, the artist will prepare her own food, sleep in her car, fully attuning herself with her surroundings. It’s a process that rests heavily on intuition and it might so happen that she returns from a trip with only one image she is pleased with; an outcome of a chance encounter with her environment. ‘When I have found the right setting, it's as if something more is happening in the cosmos than what seems to be the subject – the subject is just subservient to the space around it. Experiencing this is hard to put in words. That is why I take pictures.’

For the first time, Awoiska is including film in her latest presentation, or, as she prefers to put it, ‘moving image’. A natural transgression, perhaps, for an artist so acutely focused on recreating her personal experiences. Her static silver gelatin photographs already appear to spill far beyond the margins of the image, provoking a total loss of perception for the viewer. In this moving image, there’s no beginning or end; it’s a medium that closely mirrors the irregular and wayward behaviours of real life. 'This moving image has taught me a lot about “seeing and experiencing” my printed static images. To pause the rational brain and to surrender seems easier when roaming in this boundless space.’

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Awoiska van der Molen

Amsterdam, NL

Photo By Aida Grovestins

Awoiska van der Molen

Amsterdam, NL

Awoiska van der Molen (b. 1972, the Netherlands) is primarily known for her lucid black and white landscape photography. Guided by a deeply personal and intuitive process, van der Molen often travels in complete solitude to remote corners of the earth, fully immersing herself in her surroundings. The resulting prints assume a celestial quality, fully engulfing the page and spilling far beyond it.

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