A fascination for natural phenomena plays an important role in the work of Jannie Regnerus.
While living in Mongolia and Japan she experienced cultures which consider elements like the wind, trees etc, as animated subjects; Animism,Shintoism and Shamanism. It is a way of life where people try to life in harmony with nature. This can lead to absurd situations when over a hundred Japanese jump into a ditch all together to search for the annual phenomena of fireflies.
In the 16mm film “to Fade” (2004) Regnerus writes her best-kept secret, with a brush dipped in a bucket of water, on the streets. The heat of the sun makes the words evaporate within a few minutes. Instead of using ‘fade in, fade out’ video-montage techniques she shows the process in ‘real time’, under natural circumstances. In ‘Colorful silence’ (2001) Regnerus cuts words out of coloured paper. The words symbolize the sounds of the forest as she hears them on the spot. (the wind going through the leaves etc). She hangs the words in between the trees as if making visible a missing dimension in photography: sound.
In “Ingredients for a poem”(2004) big commas, made of paper-mache, wash upon the shore.
In text, a comma stands for a breathing space, a pause. The washed ashore comma’s could be interpretated as a visualized breathing of the sea, the sighing sound of the breakers. The work is also a comment on the sea as an unfailing inspiration for artists and poets. Regnerus prefers to let the sea speak for itself.
Like in “Fanmail” (2004) where she lets the rain interfere with her writing. In 1969 Marcel Broodthears made the film “le Pluie” where he writes a letter while sitting in the rain. The raindrops turn his letter into a drawing. In fact Broodthears takes on the role of mediator, mediator between rain and poetry. Under identical weather circumstances Regnerus returns a letter to her inspirator.
Her most recent work is the film “Fall” (2004). The film shows autumn leaves being dragged along under water in a fast flowing river. “While sitting on a riverbank I suddenly noticed how the leaves, somewhere between bottom and surface, seemed to keep on falling. They whirl and tumble, just like falling down from a tree. Sometimes a leave seemed in doubt, paused on a rock, before irrevocable being dragged along further. This ongoing struggle of the leaves appeared to me as a human quality”.
During the past year Regnerus wrote a novel based on her experiences while living in Mongolia. (Published by de Wereldbibliotheek, February 2005)
‘Monthly Evaluations / Me (October 2004)’
As her neck had stiffened, she tried to slowly shift position.
– Wait! Don’t move!
– But I am tired…
And in an expert manner, he accurately added some pale pink brush strokes here and there, looked at the painting in its brightest parts and then frowned at the model posing before him.
– What are you wearing underneath?
– A silky cream blouse with some white dots.
– Hmm… Did you eat something today?
– Yes, something, before I left home.
– Do you mind if I paint it turquoise?
– Your blouse! You look better in turquoise.
– I don’t like turquoise.
– It reminds me of my grandmother’s ring. It had a big turquoise stone, just like a translucid candy.
– It must have been lovely.
– Yeah…. she said, with a melancholic sparkle in her eyes.
– So…. what color should the blouse be?
– Paint it cream, with little white dots.
– I don’t like cream, with little white dots.
He ironically mimicked her voice, emphasizing on the little white dots, as if adding some small innocent dots to the most mediocre, bland and common of all colors would have been the most outrageous attempt.
– It’s nothing special about it.
– Yes but the white dots look pretty elegant. You know, more refined.
Disappointed in the girl’s lack of imagination, who seemed perfectly at ease in her own mediocrity, he lifted the brush up in the air, waited for a few seconds in intense concentration, and dipped it randomly in one of the paint jars. Then, eyes shut, he painted the area where her blouse was supposed to be. When he opened his eyes, a large area of the blouse was painted cream.
Now, all that was left for him to do was to add the little white dots.
………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………… Even if you won’t find paintings in the gallery, the works from the ‘Monthly Evaluations’ project are somehow connected with the classic technique of portraying. Paint is replaces by numbers, word and images. And the colors have informative purposes.