Niek Kemps has been a part of the international art scene since the eighties. The artist wants to stimulate the spectator with his conceptual work, to process images in a different way; a statement about the attention span of modern day society and the accompanying image culture. Kemps’ work is like a laboratory, wherein he does both substantial as visual research to the social and cultural context, and how this relates to image, space, contemporary art and the concept of ‘museum’.
Sculpture becomes space, space becomes museum. A museological space can take diverse appearances: whether it’s static, collapsed, moving, hidden or even virtual. In his work, the artist questions, among other things, the more traditional configuration of the museum. From the need for a funded complexity, he analyses the different connotations, and this from a philosophical and visual stand point. In doing so, Kemps researches the impact of a full virtualization of the museological existence, wherein a virtual (read: fictional) museum merely displays digital work.
Also in this imaginary constellation, the focus remains on the perception of context and space. An intertwining between fiction and reality is created. Virtual work is easily translated into a physical construction, a spaciousness, a sculpture, and vice versa. Kemps’ images never stand alone; they consistently show a sensitivity in relation to their surroundings, they interact so to speak with the space wherein they are located.
‘The narrow line between sight and seeing’, a work from 1986, is a speaking example of this. Until now, this illustrates the essence of his oeuvre. Originally it seems to be a sculpture. Yet the work is experienced as a space; a between area that questions all sorts of traditions and clichés. By continuously operating on this interface, the artist challenges the spectator to get out of their comfort zone, to explore the work, and to spend time with / in it. The artwork reveals itself only to the patient, attentive spectator. Every composition is formulated very precisely, like a poem. This form of complexity ensures that the work can never be apprehended at first glance. To fathom the different layers of meaning(s) takes time and effort. By defying fixed landmarks, meanings, perspective, and scale, every form of rational analysis is extracted or simply removed and it results in an astonishing artwork that invites to be lived and incites the spectator to reflect one self.