Hanne Van Dyck (1985) is a visual artist and writer based between Antwerp and Marrakech. Using traveling as a working method, Van Dyck allows deep spaces of reflection when translating her fieldwork into mixed-media installations, text-based performances, videos and publications, often collaborating with other artists and different media. Her practice reflects on the interrelationships between landscape, memory, culture and imagination; the organization of language as a mediator of human consciousness and rituals addressing the shattering of the relationship between subject and object, nature and culture, human and non-human, concept and material, reality and fiction.
In researching the human relationship with mountains, she has completed residencies across the globe, including at Lijiang Studio and TCG Nordica in China, Villa Ruffieux and Institut Furkablick in Switzerland and Queens Residency in Morocco. Her latest publication Sugar Falls In Water is published by Onomatopee and Tique. Her installations and performances are often site-specific; apart from exhibiting in artist-run spaces (Komplot Brussels BE, LE18 Marrakech MA, DIENSTGEBÄUDE Art Space Zürich CH), cultural spaces (TCG Nordica Kunming CN, Campo Nieuwpoort Gent BE, La Friche Marseille FR, Netwerk, Aalst BE), and festivals (On Marche Marrakech MA, Plan B Bekegem BE, Dansem Marseille FR), she has shown and performed her work on the Jemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech, the Furkapas in the Swiss Alps, a horse- resting place on the tea-horse trail in China, her bedroom, the Todra Gorge in Morocco.
Van Dyck maximizes a poetic resourcefulness in her work, manifested in a partial loss of the documentary, to its recovery in the key of fiction. That is to say, her diaristic registrations and observations might be held to be documentary in nature—as if she were to shed light on forensic evidence for us—but are representational insofar as Van Dyck subtly adds additional mental building blocks in order to cope, grapple, face and translate these encounters. Her artistic registry and agency, in this sense, becomes a meticulous balance act of applying oneself to an environment and to make deductions from that application. Not to say reductions, or deconstructions, as to strip the things she encounters from their performance, but rather a type of constructivism that looks at how many performers are assembled in a subject—a mountain, for instance—and how many performers benefit from, and are needed to sustain its existence.
Then, what is to be taken from Van Dyck’s application to the environment, by putting her encounters on the translation table, to the subsequent transposition of her findings into both an artistic context and the space and time of an artwork? I only suppose that the mental building blocks she adds come to represent attempts and approaches to rendering oneself—and also us, visitors, to some extent—sensitive and conscious to an environment, to one’s place in a scheme and an ecology of things and interrelations, and how that placement, that venturing outward of oneself both shapes the relations with other, external things and entities, but also, more importantly, how these things come to shape us.
The works of Hanne Van Dyck may remind us of such contested and dubious positioning ground for the human figure, of being wholly embedded within an environment whilst remaining to consider oneself as an external force. Through her work, she introduces a number of templates from which her fieldwork is translated into a new patchwork of significations and meanings, as to underscore this push and pull, forward and backward between observer and active participant, of human phenomenality and language within contexts devoid and indifferent to such readings. By invoking the ghosts of previous states, she tells us stories of the memories and histories we may attach to these subjects and our encounters with them, practiced through the idea of—paraphrasing Donna Haraway—in order to become one, you have to be many in the first place, also as to be enabled to talk about the tissues of being anything in the first place, a mountain, a plant, a drop of water, a cloud-being, a pine tree, a flock of sparrows. We are legion!
- Niekolaas Lekkerkerk, The Office For Curating