31.03 - 01.05.2021
A solo exhibition by Jeanne Hoffman
Presented by Salon Ninety One
Dream Window borrows its title from a 1992 documentary on Japanese gardens, referencing the conceptual and aesthetic devices of the ancient horticultural artform – that juxtapose outside with inside, order with wildness, materiality with absence, the stasis of framing (the captured moment) with perpetual movement, growth, change. These purposes run parallel to those of Hoffman’s practice, where her paintings are intended as places, spaces or stages upon which various gestures and encounters take shape.
Hoffman sees paintings as places where language engages with the ineffable. Nonetheless, conversations take place as disparate realities invade one another’s territory. These are fertile spaces, creative through the multiple encounters and conflicts. From one territory, moves the unmitigated, primordial, ineffable; from another, the mediated, rationalised, observed – each drawn towards the other in this space of painting, first articulated through the artist’s fragmented collection of experiences, then continued through a series of poetic responses to these recollections.
These conversations compound in the act of exhibiting: Individual pieces speak to each other, and the artist and the viewer engage one another through the work. In a creative act that recalls shakkei (the Japanese practice of “borrowing scenery” by framing distant scenes beyond a garden’s bounds as integral elements to the garden’s design; directing the viewer’s imagination by directing their outward gaze), fragments of multiple perspectives and memories lend themselves to a collage of many authors, channelled, for a moment, by the limits/frame of a canvas or “window” and the selections of the artist.
The “architecture” of the space (the painting) frames a symbolic constellation that is a space of continuous transformation: It is where the “I” – the person engaged, whether artist or viewer – moves between movement and stasis, between separation and union, between what is real and what is possible, between the visible and the sayable. This contract between what is painted and what is not, between materiality and absence, brings to life a pictorial space that leaves room for the imagination. The artwork does not only testify to difference, but opens it into a region, an imaginary space, where paradoxes can, and do, co-exist; it is a productive space, a site for moments of insight.
The paintings are, thus, intended as devices for contemplation – what Barthes describes as a “stage” upon which thoughts roam freely, a “dream window” that permits both artist and viewer to enter into a poetic landscape to engage with what words cannot say, being transformed by the gestures at play.