Margje Bijl - Looking for Janey
In the intimate space of her studio, she cherishes the framed photocopy with the words 'Previous life' written on it. As predicted by whoever gave her this attention, she recognised herself in the eyes of the anonymous woman. With this solo exhibition, exactly 20 years later, she wants to show how this discovery influenced her artistry.
As an artist, she always enjoys learning new techniques and returning to previous concepts with a different perspective. As a result, this first series remained in her mind for a few years until she dedicated herself to a sequel. After learning Jane Morris' name and life history, she first focused on the physical similarities. What she saw as the main difference, her hair, became a subject in itself. Based on the works of art for which she posed in the 19th century, she created the series 'Hair as in'. With this, she introduced the new direction in her work at a group exhibition in Amsterdam.
This time, she took the formal language of hairstyles as a starting point and used different hardnesses of pencils to create more spatiality and movement in the drawings on smooth paper. Landscapes emerged. Jane's hair functioned only as a starting point.
One of these drawings led to participation in the group exhibition 'Nominees Van Ommeren de Voogt Prize 2018' and in the accompanying article 'Herself', Klaske Havik concluded with: 'The muse is gradually disappearing from the picture, leaving room for other, new stories. New, but anchored in the search for the double, for the self, for the other. They invite you to look for the detail and what can be read in it.'
A few months later, she began the 'Fiber as in' series. By now, the structure of the paper had become the main source for determining the image. Using a thin mechanical pencil, she traced the shadows of the fibres on the Chinese paper. From this flowed the next step: creating my own paper. In it, she allowed small waves to emerge, which she elaborated on with pencil or ink. In this way, she gradually let go of the concept of the other and the waves of Janey's hair turned into the waves of her childhood, which she spent aboard a bulbous barge in Friesland.
Last summer, she started the new series 'Water as in', out of a desire to be completely surrounded by water. A viscous, dark-grey, shimmering mass with blown-out lights. The sea as liquid lead. This image has become the starting point for a material study that includes graphite powder and tiny glass sheets. In this way, she would like to show an authentic self-portrait, within the framework of her visual double biography.