whitehot | July 2008, Gwenneth Boelens @ Klemm's Gallery
Ramble, Central Park, New York City, New York,
The Entire Business of Coming Closer
June 28 though August 6, 2008
As one wanders through Central Park it is easy to forget your surrounding. The foreboding skyscrapers recede, the police sirens become softer, almost stagnant, and the concrete jungle of New York City alters into Nature’s playground. Frederick Law Olmstead, landscape designer of Central Park, was once described as, “An artist, [who] paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views.”  Olmsted planned The Ramble in Central park to seduce the city-dweller away from metropolis and into the wilderness. To the same effect, Gwenneth Boelens (*1980 Soest, Netherlands; lives and works in Amsterdam), creates a jointless collage of scenery in her piece Ramble; however, she makes the viewer aware of his man-made habitat—placing them in a wooden enclosure of black and white cut-outs of fawn and flora while a woman soothingly speaks about manufactured wilderness. As I stood in the installation, I found her rambling at once hypnotizing, which much like Olmsted’s Ramble, allowed me to escape my confines.
Gwenneth Boelens, Ramble, 2007,
installation (archival inkjet prints, wood, metal, speakers, soundtrack, pins),
text: Nickel Duijvenboden, ca. 305 x 218 x 153 cm
courtesy Klemm's Gallery
Gwenneth Boelens, Ramble, 2007, inside view, courtesy Klemm's Gallery
Gwenneth Boelens, Hand Wall, 2007,
16mm film transferred on DVD, 4:35 min., edition 3+1 a.p.
In the same room, next to Ramble Boelens’ video piece Hand Wall creates a similar spell binding effect, forcing me to keep watching a hand drifting along blank walls in an anonymous room. My thoughts are suddenly disoriented when the hand glides along a window looking outside to a green garden. The monologue from Rambling is still audible, resonating with unintentional continuity, nicely complimenting the video piece.
The Entire Business of Coming Closer, Boelens’ first solo show at Klemm's Gallery in Berlin, collects her pieces from the past few years and questions the connection between conflicting worlds such as autonomy vs. control and equilibrium vs. disproportion. Her work focuses on observing the environment visually, while demonstrating the obstacles and restraints one encounters while doing so. Thus, through her use of collage, installation, photography, and film she builds spaces that cause a sense of uncertainty.
 Burnham, Daniel. Address. New York. Mar. 1893. Na.
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