Carlijn Mens, 64 houtskool tekeningen A3 formaat, 2.37 x 3.36 cm.


A stop motion film of the piece Time-Light-Dark by Carlijn Mens. A site-specific drawing made at Webster University Leiden, The Netherlands on the 6th of April, 2011.


The work of Carlijn Mens is as simple in strength as it is vast in size. Working with pressed charcoal and roll paper in unlimited length, her work has the power to make us not only re-look, but to also reconsider. Drawing shadow to preserve light, she works with endless freedom on forest floors, warehouse grounds, and interior walls, going as far as her paper, her body, and the light will allow. The resulting images seem alive and illuminated, and indeed render as images. Charcoal, and the media of drawing in general, are media often strongly associated with gesture and line. Carlijn's work instead affects us as an impression, an immediate visual experience, created over time, but experienced as a whole. While shadows are most often rendered as figure, and light as ground, Mens instead creates a reversal of figure/ground, not through reversing them, but through indentifying them oppositely to how we are accustomed. By identifying shadow as ground, she is able to move light into the figurative role. This methodology, in conjunction with her subject matter and content, do something quite contemporary with a rather traditional medium. Any media employed for creative means must be carried forward, bearing meaning relevant to contemporary culture(s). This is the responsibility of artists, and it is through this symbiotic relationship between ideas and vision, and the simple media of charcoal and paper that Mens moves not only her media forward, but also our own self-awareness of the worlds which we inhabit. She preserves our places with the silent strength of the light she fixes.


Liz Miller, MFA
Director and Curator, Webster Leiden Art Gallery

Eind vorig jaar is Carlijn begonnen aan het project 'Preserving the artist' waarin zij levensgrote portretten maakt van kunstenaars die zij bewonderd, waaronder Armando, Daan van Golden, Henk Peeters en JCJ Vanderheyden. De bijzondere ontmoetingen met deze kunstenaars legt Carlijn vast met behulp van houtskool op papier en foto.