"Every journey, wherever it may go, is not only a journey of the self, but also and above all into the I.”
(Alain de Botton, the Art of Travel)
I am a traveler, in my life I have moved from place to place and from country to country. Again, and again I have packed and repacked my belongings, folded things down to fit compactly into boxes or a suitcase. In this process I have become aware of both the act of folding: A closing or concealing and unfolding: Both akin to the opening up of suitcases and the process of adapting to a new home or language. Like Alain de Botton suggests in the quote above, traveling is both an external and an internal activity, each journey is also a journey into defining the self: My work enacts just this process. I make large scale paintings on which I perform a series of actions: From painting and repainting large fields or marks of saturated, nearly straight out of the tube color, to stretching and un-stretching, folding and unfolding.
My tools are diverse, I use brooms, a variety of sprayers, equipment such as machinery and other founded tools, to the traditional brush for application. I also construct tools of materials I find. My work shifts throughout this process between 2-d on the wall, stretchers, floor or outside on the land, and 3-d. Tightly folding the painting in process into a rectangle of cloth along with any materials-such as died grass, sand, mud and other natural material that may have fallen or been dropped onto the flat surface.
Once the works leave the studio, this performance continues as I change the means of display each time they are put on view in a new space: Sometimes stacking many paintings into a column or draping or stretching them in new ways.
The performance of making the work always goes on in the secrecy and privacy of the studio, but like any artifact the paintings provide clues to this practice of making: a line of staples in the center of a color field reveals where the painting has been stretched and unstretched, the surface of the painting holds the traces of my interactions with the work, both marking my progress and time spent as well as drawing attention to the diverse studio “practices” that often are less visible in a finished work (such as stapling) by making them have an active role in the subject and form of the work. The paintings reveal on close inspection an accumulation of gesture, experience, action and motion. Traces of downwards sliding drops reveal a previous orientation, brushstrokes and other irregularities remain on the painting and are folded into the painting with my experiences and other impressions.
Each work is both a surface and a container. The installation --whether a folding or an unfolding-- will unveil a fragment of time and place. My intention is to let the viewer wonder what they’re looking at and what remains hidden. These boldly colored and refined containers I can take and display anywhere in the world, regardless of space and time, regardless of where I am coming from or where I am heading.
Mariejon de Jong-Buijs
All rights reserved: @Mariejon de Jong-Buijs, 2021