What does it mean to conceive of a dream? To find a position between the subconscious knowledge of the world and to wander through it. To create, even without willing, a universe that renders the information of the things faced everyday. Objects and emotions, faces, words and meanings all alike. When dreaming, everything is kind of soupy. All you know and have forgotten collides and twists and turns and forms stories that can hardly be retold. They beg the question of when something should manifest itself and when something ultimately does. What if we were to grasp these flaky things and spell them out in actual space and time?
To dream is to consider how things are to be understood. Not in a scientific of academic manner, but in the arrhythmic cadence of the subconsciousness. It is the muttering from within and around that gains a sudden gravity. It is the factual that performs itself unhinged from its foundations. It is the tiny intervention turning into a grand gesture. The amalgamate of collective thought adjusting again and again the framework that allow us our experiences with what we conceive of as reality.
To consider the art and practices of Tim Mathijsen and Kristoffer Zeiner, therefore, is not a formal exercise. What moves in their works is attached to many sources and they are as much intersections as a wandering positions. Fundamental knowledge collected to become something that manifests itself to resonate in ways cathartic and aesthetic. To conceive, reflect, respond. To find ways and inhibit positions, but also to manifest, materialize and point us towards the things we may know but have left unseen or deemed unworthy of attention. Perhaps the essence of their work is not so far apart from the essence of a dream.
To dream is a deep worn-in-desire. The human hunger or the virile longing for a constant crucial voyage. For adventure. To be unavoidably uprooted. To become unsettled for the sake of better understanding one’s own settlement. To realign, reset, refocus. To harvest and grow anew. To shed skin and revitalize. But there is more to such a voyage than its value upon return. The voyage’s self is the voyage itself. A crossing of boundaries and the disassembling of the frame. The excitement of new untrodden roads. Of hopeful wandering and endless wonder. To be overthrown by the deep-end of the register of our collective knowledge. And the venture of voyage requires responsibility. The careful consideration of what to bring and of how much you brought. Not in terms of necessities, but to assert how much of your bagage is coloring your endeavors and how much of it is the burden that taints them.
In paintings, sculptures and installations magnificent and relentless worlds have manifested between the walls of the gallery. An appealing puzzle of a fever dream but not at all a single dream itself. As Tim Mathijsen’s plaster works appear as architectures left eroding in a dust bowl, they are ultimately the dust itself. Thoughts forever taking shape. Solid, yet vulnerable as an idea adapting itself before becoming final. Theses on the origins of form. The paintings of Kristoffer Zeiner are more elusive, dipping in and out of abstraction. Clouded dreams projected onto canvas, in which layers of history and random concepts suddenly take order. A postcard of a voyage through a realm vaguely familiar.
Tim Mathijsen (1987, NL)
Throughout a sculptural practice, Tim Mathijsen investigates how what we understand manifests and transforms itself, and turns into meaning, knowledge and stories. A major part of his practice therefore is dominated by the use of plaster, a highly moldable and adaptable material that Mathijsen utilizes both for its ability to hold any solid shape over time and as an agent that allows him to borrow, copy and repurpose existing designs in order to further draw out the notion that shapes, facts and fiction are ever transferable and subject to transformation. Often elements of existing architecture and interior design appear in his work. by reissuing their historical context, Mathijsen gives these elements and objects new lives within an entirely different context.
Recently, Mathijsen continued to delve into the nature of transferability and the frail relationship between hard fact and soft notion by a series of diverse practices, such as retracing the body of work of his grandfather, who was an illustrator for Dutch magazines, repurposing frames reminiscent the Cantilever chairs of Marcel Breuer or Mart Stam, molding a reproducible corner shape made of plaster over and over bringing into questions when and where forms are actually manifested, and by engaging in an intricate proces of fresco-like image transfers in plaster held together by towels.
Tim Mathijsen (1987, The Netherlands) lives and works in Amsterdam, where he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and attended De Ateliers in 2015. In 2019 he was a resident at Wiels in Brussels, Belgium, where he presented a solo exhibition in the projectroom in 2022. He is the (co)founder of Marwan, a collective artist run project space in Amsterdam in addition to teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.
Kristoffer Zeiner (1987, NO)
The body of work of the Norwegian artist Kristoffer Zeiner encompasses a wide range of techniques and material exploration. From the use of raw pigments to 3D-printing, Zeiner has investigated ways intersect technique and philosophical concepts in order to create evocative artworks, ranging from performance to painting. In his recent works, Zeiner increasingly focusses on painterly practices, bordering between recognizable landscapes and abstract worlds of fantasy that incorporate many influences both distinct and unknown, exploring further the notion of constructed nature. While his sculptural and performative works allowed him to materially draw out considerations of artificiality and playfulness, painting take the artist firmly into the realms of fiction and symbolic representation on the pictorial plane. By working with pigments on untreated canvas, his paintings are sometimes more reminiscent of tapestries and are suggestive of the ever-present question when such a work is actually finished. For Zeiner, the key in dealing with these works comes from his perspective on art as something that always offers a potentiality in which something cathartic, aesthetic or otherwise magnificent could suddenly manifest itself.
Kristoffer Zeiner (1987, Norway) lives and works in Amsterdam, where he completed his MA at the Studio for Immediate Spaces program ran by Anne Holtrop at the Sandberg Institute in 2017. Prior to coming to the Netherlands, Zeiner studied at the Graphic Design Department of the Høyskolen Kristiania and interior architecture at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, in Norway. Since 2017, Zeiner has frequently exhibited his work both in group and solo exhibitions in Amsterdam and abroad, most prominently at Galerie Juliette Jongma in collaboration with Nora Baron, De Oude Kerk and Bologna.cc, and has been curating exhibitions at Bologna, Pakt and the self-organized exhibition space Reneenee. In 2021, Zeiner was awarded the Young Talent Stipend of the Mondriaan Fonds that also paved the way for his participation in this year’s Prospects at Art Rotterdam 2023.