Our vulnerable postion

Blog post
Published: 25.04.2010
Broes van Iterson

From student work in the last post, to a post about work from someone who has recently graduated. Showing the work from her Masters graduation from Konstfack in Stockholm, Belgian Hannah Joris created an installation with 99 brooches. They are all made from the same material, dried potato and iron! She carved the potatoes and hung them to dry, pierced by the iron brooch-pin. That way the potato shrinks around the iron, and becomes a compact, strong mass. To her, every potato represents a person, which is why she carved them into body-like shapes. Similar to what happens when people age, the shapes shriveled up, looking like they suffered while doing so. This is what Hannah Joris wants to show, although not the actual suffering, aging, shrinking and shriveling. But the vulnerable expression the shapes obtain, and beauty that results from it.

About half of the 99 brooches are on display, enough to come across as one group. Which is the way I saw the work. As I got closer I could separate the individual brooches, their similarities and differences. The different colors came from the different kinds of potato, vaguely resembling wood. The different shapes came from the way they were carved and dried. I could recognize their expressions. I could see the suffering, aging, wrinkling and vulnerability, and, with some, even the beauty of that. Some were quite touching, others daunting, and some possibly cute! The material used looked right, the shapes looked very natural, (because of their color?) I had the feeling I was looking at something very special, not at something as ordinary as a potato. Not one second it crossed my mind that I was looking at food. The familiarity of the shapes to the human shape was well done, and eating them would feel like cannibalism!

The brooches are exhibited specially for the ‘Art Brussels’ fair, at Caroline Van Hoek Gallery, in Brussels, Belgium. Caroline Van Hoek Gallery is a member of Klimt02.

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