The work of Ann Veronica Janssens, a British artist who lives in Brussels, precipitates the heightened optical and spatial awareness similar to that of Light and Space but without the often attendant fuss that seems antithetical to the movement’s less-is-more, dematerialized aesthetic. At least as seen here, in her first solo show in the United States, Ms. Janssens’s efforts avoid the more grandiose Light and Space hallmarks, including the immaculate built-out environments, computerized light shows and viewers removing their shoes. The results are less immersive, but more thought-provoking.
At Bortolami, Ms. Janssens, who has shown in Europe since the early 1980s, presents six eye-teasing works. The most immediately arresting is a thick layer of aqua-blue glitter, spread on the floor. About the size of a kiddie pool, it is lush and dazzling and flashes shades of green and yellow as you circumnavigate it, almost as if its surface were moving.
More understated are two modest sheets of corrugated aluminum that jut out from two walls, tilting upward, a little like awnings. They seem to levitate, delicately shaded on their undersides and glowing on top, as if harboring concealed lights. Actually, the aluminum is covered with platinum leaf, and each piece is fittingly titled “Moonlight,” which is, of course, all reflected. A narrow portion of vertical blinds, titled “California,” also seems lighted from within but is simply covered with gold leaf. The show culminates in a room where seven spotlights with pink gels form a circle on one wall while a haze machine lends heft to their crossing beams, which cast a lotuslike pattern on the opposite wall. These pieces might weaken if seen separately, but together their trick-free, low-tech magic is refreshing.
- Roberta Smith