Frostwork, 2017

Lamda print mounted on Dibond

33 x 49,5 cm



During her residency at CAAK, Center for Art & Architecture in Kanazawa (JP) 2016, Sarah Westphal  has departed from traces found in a house from 1931. The house is abandoned since the former owner died. Everything has remained untouched as a sleeping still life waiting to get awakened…

The gathered images like Frostwork touch upon the Japanese expression kuuki wo yomu -  Reading The Air - which is translated as „reading an atmosphere“. It points out things between the visible and invisible, what cannot be said but can be sensed when you listen carefully. And this is what the artist did during her stay in Japan; reading the air, listening to its sound and measuring its weight.


Tijdens haar residentie aan het CAAK (Centrum voor Kunst & Architectuur), in Kanazawa (JP) in 2016, was het vertrekpunt van Sarah Westphal de vondsten die ze deed in een huis uit 1931.  Dit huis is verlaten geweest sinds het overlijden van de vorige eigenaar.  Alles is sindsdien onaangeraakt gebleven, als een sluimerend stilleven dat heeft gewacht om  te worden gewekt..

The verzamelde beelden, zoals het nevenstaande Frostwork,    gaan in op de Japanse uitdrukking kuuki wo yomu - Reading the Air - die vertaald wordt als „het lezen van een sfeer". Het wijst op dingen die zich bevinden tussen het zichtbare en het onzichtbare, die niet gezegd kunnen worden maar kunnen worden gevoeld als men goed luistert. En dit is wat de kunstenares tijdens haar verblijf in Japan deed: de lucht lezen, naar haar geluiden luisteren en haar gewicht meten.

Sarah Westphal is a visual artist based in Germany and Belgium. In her multidisciplinary work she researches most intensively the relationship between people, objects and their surroundings. A key part of this investigation focuses on how qualities of place contribute to our human experience, answering such questions as how does a location influence us physically and psychologically? How do we perceive the world around us? How does a space refer to its former inhabitants? What does an object tell us about its users? What impressions are left and what stories can be read from the layered history of surfaces and imprints or the corporeality of space? In a kind of archaeological research, Westphal reveals, camouflages and reconstructs missing links. Through these minimal and meticulous actions, she manipulates the essence of the found situation and constructs sober but complex site-specific installations that can be physically experienced by the viewer. Sculptures, photographs and projections shift between two- and three-dimensionality, between reality and fiction. The uncanny, the surreal and the poetic mingle very often in her work with elements of the surroundings that seem very innocent on the first glance. What is so familiar and simple, gets alienated  and a meaningful power by a second reading of the artist’s work.

In past solo exhibitions, she created a strong dialogue between exhibition spaces, each of which has its own history as occupied interior, such as Zwei Räume für sich allein. Maria von Gneisenau und Schloss Molsdorf, Palace of Molsdorf - Kunsthalle Erfurt (DE) (2016); Hintersteg (2014) in Be-Part, Platform for Contemporary Art, Waregem; Timpano (2013) in Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne; Allure Craquelure (2013) in Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp.