Submission
Reinier Vrancken

Ye (...) manifold

Ye (...) manifold Reinier Vrancken 6/11/2021—6/12/2021 Marwan (artist-run project space) open for visits on Sat. & Sun. 2-5 pm & by appointment during Ye (...) manifold Fokke Simonszstraat 12, Amsterdam, NL www.marwanmarwan.com mailmarwanamsterdam@gmail.com Ye (...) manifold is part of Marwan’s year of Leakage, which is supported by the Mondriaan Fund and held (up) with the help of our community. Marwan would not be able to be what it currently is without AKINCI gallery.


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THE BODY HOLDS ITS SHAPE
By Christina Li

In the first page of notes from my introductory visit to Reinier Vrancken’s studio, I jotted down one sentence he said: “Information takes a long time to digest.” His work engages with reality and tests the permeable boundary between representation, information, and meaning. The combination of precise forms, and poetic conceptualism inform his artistic processes so that existing connotations are interrogated and stripped bare. The resulting ready-mades and appropriations are caches for new interconnections, and affiliations to be generated by the contexts shaped by his presentations. For his solo exhibition entitled, Ye (…) manifold at Marwan, Vrancken responds to the given circumstances he is hosted within, using Marwan’s history, their marketing infrastructure, along with the artist’s own subjectivity as points of entry. Building on his ongoing preoccupation with (im-)material traces of presence, and absence, this new body of work finds expression within intersections of the lived experience and language.

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“An act of hospitality can only be poetic.”
–– Of Hospitality, Jacques Derrida

One of Vrancken’s pieces for the show, Invitation for Marwan, is a limited edition mail-out dispatched prior to the exhibition. The project space is named as an homage to the artists and founders Tim Mathijsen and Tirza Kater’s friend, Marwan, who left Amsterdam. Five years since its establishment, Marwan’s relationship to the namesake space is re-personified per Vrancken’s imagination. He employs the marketing and communicating tools of Marwan, and transforms the hosting initiative’s narrow flyer into a concert wrist band. As the artist delved into reworking the printed strip, he discovered it can twice encircle his wrist, or by extension, once around Tim’s and Tirza’s – the sum of Marwan – as well. Who, or what, does Marwan, represent, then and now, and to whom? Once the band is unfolded, the information is undecipherable from fragments which are made only to be legible in its folded form. Both printed matter and art object, the work finds its final destination in the exhibition. Under Vrancken’s treatment, Marwan’s design and identity are detached from its original state. In altering its function, it becomes an embodiment of associations old and new: as a person, a space, or a memory.

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“Why should our bodies end at the skin?”
–– A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway

Vrancken’s works are propositions to interpret the amalgamation of conceptual, semantic and poetic leaps and conceptions that are ascribed to seemingly autonomous objects and words around us. His installation A hornet tests my sculptured skin, is an exploration of ways in which the body is presented but also memorialised in various conventions. The title is borrowed from the final line of Thomas James’ poem “Room 101” whereby the protagonist narrates how he is slowly turned into stone. Notions of preservation and transfiguration are pushed further when the title is juxtaposed with what is on display: different bottled fluids Vrancken obtained after working with a professional embalmer. The combined chemicals form the formula to preserve a body equivalent to the artist’s stature, giving it the look and feel of marble. The containers on show – the preparatory ingredients, and the evocative title – the result, are bookends to different processes of immortalising a body. Moreover, it is one of the rare instances in which the artist himself is brought into the work as material for the work, suggested by his physical absence.

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How does a body hold its shape? The works in Ye (…) manifold disentangle this thought via fluid transmutations between material and literary worlds. Vrancken moves in and out of these fields with subtlety, to cross-examine or dissect ideas to reveal their fundamental form. In line with his interest in the depiction of individuals within the poetic tradition, the exhibition’s titular piece is an erasure poem, taking the first and last words from the fifteenth sonnet of Edmund Spenser’s sonnet cycle “Amoretti”. In this particular sonnet, the device of blazon is used extensively as the poet compares physical features of his beloved to rare jewels, rendering her into an assembly of prized commodities. Ultimately, the cumulation of Vrancken’s gestures found in this exhibition uncovers what remains within and without the body in question. He unpacks the tangible and conceptual acts of preservation by deconstructing and subtracting elements. Through his astute leaps and manoeuvres across form and meaning, parts are reconstituted into intact configurations that irrevocably are estranged from their original incarnation.