2002 Secrets of a Hidden Eye – Japanese Mirror. Anita Jensen textdoc


2002 Secrets of a Hidden Eye – Japanese Mirror. Anita Jensen textdoc

Anita Jensen

Secrets of a Hidden Eye/Japanese Mirror

My visual language is strongly based on my inner view of the world. I use certain characteristics of Japanese culture as a mirror for myself with which I can recognize, question, and reconstruct my own identity; working this way I can try to transform private and personal memories, emotions, and experiences into public and common, thereby trying to reach out for other persons.

By travelling between these two cultures, both in spirit and in reality, I am able to constantly recognize mental similarities behind obvious differences. At the same time, the fruitful state of travelling creates an atmosphere of “recognizing oneself” and “rediscovery” which serves to produce plenty of imagery I find most significant.

By combining elements of a distant and foreign, an “other”, culture with images of intimate and personal nature it has been possible for me to constantly create new viewpoints to my own work.

Between Nature and Culture

The recognition of connections between natural phenomena and human life, as well as the increasing of intuitive understanding of natural order, also in the beholder, is one of the key goals of my artistic work. This is why I have for a long time been interested in comparing the Western and Eastern ways of perceiving nature.

Flora and Fauna

In my pictures, the combination of the Western and the Eastern relationship with nature is exemplified by animals which in the West have traditionally been associated with dreams, the subconscious, instincts, and urges, while in Eastern cultures they also represent fertility and life-creating powers.
In Japan, spiritual growth has, in turn, been emblemized by plants which carry the ancient symbolism of germinating, sprouting, growing, blooming, being fertilized, withering, and dying: of the cycle of life.

Sense and Sensibility

In its dichotomy, Western reasoning has compulsively made attempts at proving the irrevocable binary opposition of intellect and emotionality. Because all utterly significant choices we make are eventually based on emotion, I try to juxtapose very strong emotions and emotional states with intellectual contemplation in my work with a conscious aim to avoid exhibitionism and direct venting out of anger.

Face in the Mirror/The Power of a Gaze/Covering and Revealing

In my works, the gigantic plants, seeds, flowers, pig’s ears meant for dog food, and pieces of leather that I use to prevent a direct eye contact also turn the ideal faces of characters/film stars into grotesque and revealing masks, behind whose beauty and ostensible perfection and easiness comes forth powerful, even anarchic emotion and philosophy that takes a critical stand towards today’s values. Nature shows us its destructive side, too.
In other words, what we are dealing with is the difficulty of reaching out for an other person and, at the same time, to recognize and accept oneself and one’s own emotions through him, and thereby become aware of all aspects of human life, including pain and the transitoriness and temporality of life. The encounter of gazes can also ensues opening of new opportunities from which a new chance of life sprouts from with belief in the supporting power of life.

Techniques of Printmaking as a Tool of Opening the Doors of the Unconscious

In the field of printmaking, I have along the years tried to find myself suitable methods and applications of techniques which would provide an opportunity for a more spontaneous way of making art. One of my earlier discoveries was sugar aquatint which I used in the production of plates resembling ink blot tests, simultaneously testing my own choices. Starting from the mid-90’s, I have used photography for the same purpose, taking pictures intuitively and collecting an extensive image archive, and subsequently working on them with a variety of gravure techniques. I have also made larger-scale works with combinations in which I have exposed images on papers that have been treated with photographic emulsion, adding later new elements to it by e.g. painting. Printmaking is usually associated with high technical skills, and you will have to invent your own solutions and methods in order to keep it as a mere tool for realising your ideas. In the middle of abundant visual material, testing my own choices, searching for meanings, giving room for chance and spontaneity, I try to visualize my “primal language” which rises from my unconscious with the help of dreams, analysis, and creating art

Anita Jensen/
From the catalogue of
The 10th International Print Triennial
In Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland