© Images Cheonho Ahn
25 FEBRUARY – 23 APRIL 2023
For Anouk Lamm Anouk, the temple is not limited to a physical space, it can be omnipresent. For the artist, the temple is a site of peace and tranquillity, a sacred space, and can be consciously seen in contrast to those places that our societies currently construct. This is also how DIFFERENT VISIONS OF TEMPLES can be understood: an overarching concept, embedding the idea of the temple within a given social structure, fostering an intimate relationship to other people and living beings, or even in their absence, in emptiness, peace, and contemplation.
The temple is a recurring element in the works of Anouk Lamm Anouk and is carried through this exhibition by figures and elements that symbolize the temple, of which three temples in particular are presented and made tangible for the viewer.
The first temple is found in the abstract work series POST/PRE, which is currently comprised of more than 50 works. As the name of the series suggests, it is about the here and now, that is, what lies between the before and the after; the moment itself is its centre. In many cases, the abstract pictorial worlds feature a ring of fog as their anchor, affecting the viewer as if they were a kind of door or portal into an unknown dimension or a still undiscovered space. The creative process behind POST/PRE is, for Anouk Lamm Anouk, already a kind of temple, due to the perseverance and contemplation required to produce the works. The strokes contained on the canvases are the result of a conscious act, each placed neatly next to one another in a process that can take from a few days to a few weeks to produce.
According to the artist, "I work almost daily, which can mean that I don't paint a single stroke all day, but still contemplate the works." In POST/PRE, so-called ultimate “non-spaces” are depicted, the principle being that emptiness serves as the foundation for fullness, and that nothingness is everything. These "non-spaces" are meant to ground the viewer and help them dwell in the moment, anchored in the here and now, leaving the digital and its distractions behind and inviting viewers to linger. In an unmistakable abstract formal language, Anouk Lamm Anouk manages to make theirs an experience of the temple.
The second temple emerges through the herd of transparent abstracted sky horses. The deliberately fragile-looking animals hang in a densely packed arrangement, almost as if floating on the ceiling of the exhibition space. Yet, the herd also appears to be in motion, dynamic in their orientation, moving as a whole towards the exit, directly towards the viewer. But even though the creatures seem dynamic, the herd has something harmonious, calm, and peaceful about it. Celestial horses are to be understood here as mythological creatures that pull the sun chariot of the Greek sun god Helios, symbolizing the passage of time, or the movement of the sun from east to west. The passage of time is exactly what makes the moment central to the works. Anouk Lamm Anouk explains that "What many people may not be aware of, is the fact that the herd is actually a Matriarchy. The herd is led by a mare, and that decision is not one external to the group, but intrinsic to it. It is about clarity, stability, and calmness. Her leadership is the result of being, whereas that of the stallion comes about as a result of action, doing. This element makes horses and their social formation particularly exciting for me in contrast to the way in which our society is organized." The herd can be said to embody a wish fulfilling image of wanting to be part of a group, of the desire for a functioning, harmonious social structure and togetherness.
The wall installation, GIRL CARES, made of brass fragments, encompasses the third temple. In it, a girl holds a lamb tightly; she carries the animal on her shoulder, heading for a kind of portal, or perhaps a mirror. On the genesis of this work, the artist describes that, “We have forgotten empathy and caring. For me, caring is a step back from the ego, focusing on the big picture. Engaging with someone other than yourself contains elements of both having arrived and peace that engenders." The installation consists of two identical sets of brass fragments. On the one hand, the individual brass fragments were arranged figuratively – the titular girl and the lamb – and on the other hand, the elements were arranged differently to form an abstract structure. This formation represents a kind of abstracted deduction of the two living beings depicted on the other side. GIRL CARES is about empathy, one of the lost virtues in our society, according to Anouk Lamm Anouk.
© Text Marleen Anouk-Roubik