Conceived as half of a two-exhibition series titled A Matter of Sight and Light and Matter, Lotte Geeven's solo show at PAKT plays with the viewer’s perception, right off the bat. The most striking installation in the Zeeburg gallery is a series of stripes, ranging from black to white, which turn the banal chromatic shift of the venue's floor that occurs over the course of the day into something visible and discrete. Another work, this one sound-based, plays noises recorded by the artist during her visit to a 9.101 meter-deep hole on the Czech border. Geeven's display of the speakers on a golden rectangle gives the installation a quasi-magical allure, but the origins of the sound – the hole was dug for scientific purposes – connect to the wider span of PAKT's double bill. A Matter of Sight and Light and Matter is in fact moderated by a scientist conducting research on the impact of light on molecular movement, and the interest in invisible, molecular waves is explicit throughout the exhibition. Light and sound are referenced both literally – through flashing lamps or speakers – and more subtly – the same sound insulation material deployed by Haroon Mirza in his Silver Lion-winning installation at the 2011 Venice Biennale can be found under glass itself, insulated and reduced to a minimal sculpture.
Science is there, then, but the PAKT show is also marked by the artist's own distinctive poetic. The cohesiveness of Geeven's language is maintained across a range of media encompassing sculpture and video, the latter represented by Shifting Sediments. This suspended projection depicts a rock being scanned by a copy-machine-like light from below, a simple yet scenic visual solution that well represents the Eindhoven-based artist's knack for synthetic visions – something I had the chance to witness for the first time at FatForm's Present Forever show, for which Geeven came up with an upside-down car, rotating endlessly on the garage floor. Her use of minimal shapes, like the sphere, is often tampered with by a playful take, replacing soul-less, symbolic objects with pop-infused, less alien ones. Sometimes it’s a basketball, but in this case the apple is a recurring element.
Not unlike the grayscale that catches our eye upon entering the gallery, though, the overall mood of the show is one of mystique, if not seriousness. Geeven is after what lies just outside our perception, be it geographically – the center of the Earth – or temporally – the darkest hours of the night, when the gallery appears black. Her video seems to suggest the tangible surface of rocks is something worthy of systematic scrutiny, or at least the fascinated gaze of a child holding a lamp to read a book under the sheets at night. Whatever message the artist wishes to fill the hole in our eyes with, it is an intriguing invitation.
(All images: Lotte Geeven, installation view of There Is A Hole Inside Your Eye, PAKT, Amsterdam; Courtesy of the artist and PAKT, Amsterdam; Photo: Nicola Bozzi.)