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Julie van der Vaart in dialogue with Fabio Roncato

The Field of the Unknown 

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The Field of the Unknown - Artist Statement


In the transition between perception and comprehension, different states of reality interpose themselves.


Some information is so extreme in dimension, both of space and time, that we must reconsider the very idea of representation. Our senses can be unreliable tools to capture our surroundings. How to understand something that by its very nature is unrepresentable? 


Is it possible to fully understand something without being able to visualize it? And what is the role of imagination within this incomplete equation? Can we train the imagination? 

The artists in the exhibition confront themselves with this problem in an attempt to understand and visualize the invisible.


Deep Time, by Julie van der Vaart, captures the insides of caves through photopolymer etches based on analogue photographs. The continuous and prolonged mineral depositions take form due to the water percolating between the rocks. The water defines the shape of the cave, first over centuries, then over the course of millennia. It’s shaped into a sculptural body that is, by its very nature, a single giant mass of time. The artist explores the rocky interior and traps these shapes in her photos. This gesture has a double value. It visually captures the immersive and evocative potential of these forms, containing a sense of time that arches out of scale compared to human proportions while capturing an instant through the film in order to tear it away from the inexorable and silent process of transformation.


Momentum, by Fabio Roncato, is conceived as an inquiry on the representation and experience of a moment in time. A series of sculptures, that are created through the contact between two liquid elements: melted wax and the watercourse of a river. The wax is thrown into the watercourse, where it’s cooled by the mass of the river. This determines the shape of the sculpture in one single moment. From the water emerges a form still in tension, a cast of the river flow, a clash between two elements that crystallize matter and time. The form is made solid in metal by using the lost wax technique. The final sculpture vibrates an instant in time. It preserves the shapes outside their original temporal context, in a dimension of eternal suspension.


The constant falling of drops from the inlets of the rocks are like a river flow; two reflections that show time through the element of water, and that charge this element to deliver this value to our imagination in all its shapes. The artists make these researches converse, different in appearance but born from the urgency to understand time in its inaccessible dimensions. The forms of this research will be the sketches that will trace a path within the field of unknown.   

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