Project: Patricia Kaersenhout, Invisible Men

Friday, September 11, 2009

Patricia Kaersenhout is a Surinamese artist based in Amsterdam. She recently participated in the Wakaman Project, which brought Surinamese artists working at home and abroad into a conversation about contemporary art. “As an artist I’m in a constant state of becoming,” she writes, “therefore my work can never be a finished product.... When a work is recognizable, sellable, suitable, please-able it contains too many ‘ables’. For me the only ‘able’ that coincides with my work is dis-able.”

Kaersenhout's most recent project is Invisible Men, a book of images and words inspired by Ralph Ellison's novel of (almost) the same name. Using the pages of an old biology textbook as her staring-point, she “tries to visualize the invisible; from spirit to flesh.”

From writer Eva van Leeuwen's text in Invisible Men:

You are standing really still behind the curtain. You hear people walking by, calling out, doors being opened and closed again. Being invisible seemed like the most wonderful thing imaginable.

Until that one particular day, when you hear nobody walking by and there is no calling out. You must have been standing really still behind the curtain for at least thirty minutes. It slowly dawns on you: there is nobody looking for me. And suddenly it was no longer any fun.

Perhaps you can only be invisible if you are being looked for. If you are not being sought then you simply don’t exist. And what if you are searching for an invisible someone but nobody is searching for you? Who is actually invisible then?

Invisible Men is published in a limited edition by Eindeloos. For more information, or to buy a copy, visit the publishers’ website. See more of the book here.