Grolsch Unseen Residency: Jannemarein Renout

by Unseen December 08 2017

Proposal sketch © Jannemarein Renout

With a common commitment to innovation and creativity – and a shared ambition to challenge conventions – Grolsch and Unseen joined forces in 2016 to launch an exciting new platform for emerging photographic talent.

The Grolsch Unseen Residency annually grants one artist with a scholarship to create new work relating to an unfamiliar urban context; that of a chosen European city. The next edition of the residency will take place in Stockholm, where the winner is supported by a local network of industry professionals, ranging from curators, gallerists and editors to publishers and fellow artists. The resulting project, with its unconventional approach to urban space, will be exhibited at the 2018 edition of Unseen Amsterdam.

Shortlisted Artist: Jannemarein Renout

A graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Jannemarein Renout (b. 1969, the Netherlands) uses digital scanners to create colourful, abstract compositions, a selection of which were brought to the recent edition of Unseen Amsterdam by Galerie Bart. Removing the digital scanner from its conventional context, and swapping artificial light for natural light, this process generates various interesting effects on her images. The resulting works are heavily dependent on chance, thus questioning the notions of automation and precision with which her technological tools are associated.

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Pretty humid, 2017 © Jannemarein Renout/Galerie Bart at Unseen Amsterdam 2017

Setting the scanner aside – though with a similarly scientific approach – Renout’s proposal for the Grolsch Unseen Residency focuses on the aesthetic potential of Stockholm’s wastewater:

I walk the streets of Stockholm in my mind. I look up at the cold facades of the city, people of all kinds pass by, the birds in the sky, a wave of movement fills the empty space, a confident and consistent humming rises from the ground, a gentle breeze brings the smell from the Baltic, it tickles my nose, I search for signs of a hidden past.

This could apply to any city, except for the particular smell of the water.

“Specifically, I would like to work with Stockholm's two wastewater treatment plants, which receive and treat 355,000m³ of wastewater from a million people every day, as well as local industries. This is the place to find out more of the city and its inhabitants!

I want to research if the components of wastewater can be used for creating an image. Think of the simple base of photography, in which light is the driving force for creating an image. Instead, I will use wastewater, working with a separation technique that makes the substances of wastewater visible in colourful pigment.

“Separation techniques are a sort of chromatography, in which the material absorbs the liquids and shows a different colour scheme according to its substances. Another possibility is to work with pH indicators, which are pigments which react to the acidity of the substance. The pigments change colour according to the pH-value.”

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Proposal sketch © Jannemarein Renout

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Proposal sketch © Jannemarein Renout