16 Mar – 15 Apr 2007

Optimizer Evolizer

Jan van Nuenen

A solo exhibition with 7 video animations by Jan van Nuenen + the première of EVOLIZER (2006/2007 digital animation, 15 minutes)

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Jan van Nuenen is working. On the occasions that I visited him in his apartment while preparing for this exhibition, he was surrounded by computers and yellow post-notes emblazoned with the EVOLIZER storyboard, seated on two enormous ergonomic office chairs in front of the screens along with his intern. They had been sitting there for hours and, after I left, continued their long vigil. Searching for images and short films, selecting the right segments of a second, sharpening or blurring the edges of images, constructing and animating figures and backgrounds, programming the movements of the virtual camera through the animated world: tempo, zoom, rhythm.  

Jan van Nuenen constructs his worlds from what he dredges up from the belly of the internet. The bodies in his films are pegged together from the half-digested remains of other creatures, the body parts still powered by the energy of their previous owner. Different image resolutions collide and grate and everything and everyone is mercilessly propelled along by a tightly-orchestrated score of squeals, bursts, rattles and creaks. It is a glimpse of Hades, the realm of the dead, of the animal-human-machine, the unleashing of technology, the volatility of evolution.  

Unusually, Van Nuenen’s films are not simply a moralistic “rage against the machine”. They are no mere revels in doom and gloom, or a boy’s fascination for robots and zombies. The last sequence of OPTIMIZER/EVOLIZER in which an unintelligibly distorted male voice sings along to a cut & paste mountain range as it slips away, unexpectedly evokes a mood of melancholia. And the multiple-breasted Eva in LAME YARD, oh-so-obviously harvested from fragments of sex films, despite her origins raises parallels with her desperate counterpart expelled from Massacio’s paradise.      

Gijs Frieling – Director of W139