Frontspace: Orca

19 Mar 2022 - 08 May 2022

For her exhibition ‘Orca’ Maja Klaassens brings together a body of work consisting of painting, sculpture and installation. All works testify of the ephemeral nature of memory and the human desire to collect, record and store our memories.

Klaassens explores the way we isolate, edit, re-arrange, and save images and objects. These fragments (more easily than the whole) become props in semi-fictional or metafictional texts we ‘write’ in our own mind, as a response to experience and reality.

Her interest in writing as a kind of automatic internal mechanism reveals itself within the works in the show. Klaassens’ ‘grass’ paintings have been executed as if writing, concentrated at a desk, rose thorns on branches can be read like words on a line, and strips cut from a photograph of an orca fin are readable as both individual lines encased in glass, and a whole image.

Thorns and an orca fin can act as both a fragment and a pars pro toto, as what is missing continues to exist as a kind of ghost. To Klaassens, this is the same as how experiences remain as ghosts behind the fragments we extract from them and form into memories. 

A black fin on a black reflective dinner table turns the surface of the table into the surface of the ocean, and resembling a large screen (the ultimate memory-storage), the table becomes the bottomless pit of the interface. The impression is uncanny, and encourages the viewer to fixate on the details of real and fabricated elements within one work.

The similar shape of the thorn and the fin emphasises the way threats and protection can occur together. Klaassens tries to find ways to show how recording memory can be both pleasant and anxious: leaving us questioning the missing parts of what happened in the grass, or at the dinner table.

Maja Klaassens (1989, New Zealand) obtained her BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2014, and her MA in Contemporary Art History from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2021. Recent group exhibitions include ‘After Daan van Golden’ at Parts Project and ‘RSVP’ at Billytown. In 2019 her work was shown at Poppositions in Brussels and she co-curated the group exhibition ‘Hinkypunk’ at Billytown. In 2020 she was awarded the Stroom PRO Research Grant. 



Click here to read a specially commissioned text by Danica Pinteric