Review /

Job Koelewijn Fons Welters / Amsterdam

It all started with Osho’s “The Rebel, the Very Salt of the Earth.” Since February 2006, Dutch artist Job Koelewijn (1962) records himself everyday for 45 minutes while reading aloud books, from philosophical tractates to literature and song texts. The result? A well-trained brain, and large piles of audiotapes that cover a fair amount of the gallery wall at Fons Welters. The installation Relief 2 (2009-2012) presents Slavoj Zizek next to Hannah Arendt. The James Joyce trilogy carries the largest pile of tapes, as it is the thickest book. While presented as an attractive archive, the tapes unfortunately cannot be played in the gallery. Yet anyone familiar with Koelewijn’s fanatic and precise working method, won’t doubt this project. Earlier the artist produced a wall of baby powder, stock cubes wrapped in poetry and detailed mandalas of colored sand and eucalyptus. Yet this tactile presentation, a direct invitation to the senses, has moved to a more abstract form, while time remains a topic of focus to his new works.

Not only the bookshelves embody Koelewijn’s deep interest in literature and philosophy, also his newest series of circular shaped collages, drawings and stop-motion animations “Collage/Storyboard” expresses quotations. Instead of his voice, his body length, 1.86 m, the exact size of the profile of all circular works, becomes the medium. Collage / Storyboard 1 (2012) juxtaposes a portrait of Spinoza and a pendulum. A circular design is cut out of the multiple layers of paper, creating a pattern of a tree’s year ring. The accompanying stop-motion animation shows the production of the collage, as it reveals each layer of paper and imagery of the collage in a separate image. Collage / Storyboard 2 shows a collage of newspaper obituaries and a black/white op-art hypnotizing animation, again focusing on time, repetition and endless movement. The spinning circle, the looped animations, the recordings of the tape player and the ongoing projects; time is ticking away, but there is no fear or stress, only a very disciplined artist.

by Tessa Verheul