Renée Marcus Janssen (1976, Naarden)
Renée Marcus Janssen studied sculpture in Italy and the Netherlands. While at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, she produced works in bronze at the Fonderia artistica Da Prato in Pietrasanta, where she learned the craftmanship of finishing bronze. In the year 2012 she started a very pleasant cooperation with the artfoundry Artcasting at Oudenaarde in Belgium. At the moment her studio is located at the former Amsterdam NDSM shipyard located on the banks of the River IJ in Amsterdam Noord, the NDSM Wharf has blossomed into an enormous cultural hotspot in recent years with a vibrant artist community.
“Renée Marcus Janssen now specializes in three-dimensional portraits of animals, in bronze. Her series, Animali Antichi (Ancient Animals), includes character portrayals of historic animals, each with a story of its own. Each of these portraits is more than a handsome reproduction of her subject’s outward appearance. It is a monumental tribute to wildlife and vulnerability of their existence. In bronze, Renée Marcus Janssen uniquely captures the particular character and individual traits of each of her subjects. “
Working in a fixed studio setting allowed her to further enhance details and refine her personal sculpting style, achieving a highly individual modelling style, based on ancient and traditional Italian sculpting techniques.
‘SCULPTURES Of SILENCE , a tribute to wildlife’
“When surrounded by her animals, we may think of Noah’s Ark. Together, amongst one another, these character portraits are reminiscent of this biblical story. Classically placed on pedestals in perfect simplicity and gentleness, they fill the space, and they awaken. They are an embodiment of just being there, unfettered by the passions, longings and fears that so often control the lives of men. These sculptures fully convey their inner tranquillity, distinction and dignity, and for this reason, they have an enormous power of attraction. To look and being looked at. What do they tell you? In our age of noise and perpetual buzzing, Renée Marcus Janssen has the courage to create sculptures of silence.“
‘In a time when speed, change and digitization are paramount’
In a time when speed, change and digitization are paramount, where almost everything is possible, Renée reaches back to the foundation, the form. A giraffe, a goat, a cow – just a few examples of the animals that she is so able to capture in her character portraits. This is a return to harmony, a pregnant and succinct style, characterized by subjective change and stylization of nature. Today, they are a silent provocation. Their ‘being out of their time’ gives Renée’s sculptures their powerful, characteristic and unique atmosphere. Yet they still have a clear relation to the contemporary age in which we live. The animal as a character portrait is a reference to the eternally topical and inextricable relationship between man and animal. The portrait, such as we know it – of people –, has now been applied to animals. The viewer stands equal to it, eye to eye, at the same level. The effect that this has is an individual, personal experience.
‘AN EMBODIMENT IN BRONZE’
But he who looks, takes the time, is amply rewarded. The viewer becomes aware of how the hands of the sculptor, as it were, are always asking: what belongs with what? The body does not hold on to the soul, but the soul holds on to the body. Animals that have something human about them – this is what is so often said about Renée’s sculptures. Is this not an expression of the inability of the viewer to identify, give a name to a feeling of some kind of recognition? We ask ourselves, in recognition of what? Does this not say more about the sensory experiences of the sculptor herself? We are looking at an inspired interpretation of sensual impressions and inner life: an embodiment in bronze of a personal relationship between the creator and the created.
Animali Antichi, or Ancient Animals, is the title of an ongoing series of character portraits, consisting to date of 15 different animals. Renée’s sculptures invite the viewer to come a step closer, to touch and to experience. The joy of observation and reflection, which the sculptor experiences while modelling her works, is not self-evident, not naturally experienced by everyone. Perhaps this is because in today’s world, it is something both new and old: something ordinary. It is ‘just’ an animal.
Villa des Beaux Arts Heeze NL, Morren Galleries Utrecht NL, Galerie 713 Knokke B, Galerie de Beeldenstorm Boschenhoofd N
Tekst: Burkhardt Soell & Renée Marcus Janssen 2017
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