A misty thoughtfulness permeates the framents of everyday life that appear in Elise van Staveren’s work. Subtle suggestions of journeys, her series present frozen moments, still-images of memories retracing their own steps. Hints of things that happened in places now abandoned, object that retain traces of existences: those which creep into her work emerge as remnants of departures.
She draws direct inspiration from her ordinary surroundings, aware of their profound influence on ways of living – how the spaces we move through affect the ways that we think and behave. Alongside, she acknowledges the characterisation of the space-experience relationship by reciprocity: the environment impacts us as much as we project our individuality onto it. Elements of travels, road trips and details of anonymous locations are imbued with a mysterious charge, given the impression of a stillness, a suspension in time. The tacit atmosphere of van Staveren’s images is broken by the presence of silver doodling and writing. Words shaped in shiny-material construct sentences. Fences and scribbles are drawn and painted so as to mimic the distinctive character of the metallic element or of other materials. Their distinctness from the rest of her painted scenes reveals their specific functionas literal forms of thoughts. Similar to a commentery, this over-imposed layer may directly reveal the title of the work within its pictorial space, materialising and verbalising at once the wishes and reflections that inhabit her paintings. This coupling makes very explicit the way in which reality is always double. We are never in one place; in any given moment, we are dwelling both in actualised surroundings and our minds. Van Staveren’s work reveals how perception depends on a dimenion constructed of emotional remembrance and imagination – one affected in return by everything around us. Her works become manifestations of restrospective-introspections, where thoughts and feelings continue to dwell, creating landschapes of a reflective consiousness.
(Text by Elisabetta Cuccaro)