01.09.2022 Views

Face To Face Exhibition Catalogue

About The Exhibition Bart Janssen believes that portraiture is not just about creating a copy, but also about unearthing the thoughts and feelings that govern each subject. Choosing to depict those that are not typically shown in classical sculpture, Janssen says “I want these people to be seen, as I try to provoke a connection between the portrait and the viewer. This exhibition includes sculptures from three of Janssen’s ongoing projects: Londoners is a portrait series of homeless Londoners. With these works, the viewer is invited to contemplate their subject's condition. On the street many of us avert our eyes, but here the viewer can stop and observe. Windrush is a portrait series of the Windrush generation. Having lived in the UK since 2016, Janssen is aware of the “Windrush scandal”, which refers to the hostile environment created by the UK government to track down mainly Caribbean immigrants of the 1950/60/70s. Janssen wants to give this generation faces and represent their beauty and diversity in portrait sculpture. Black Beauty is a portrait series of black women with its inspiration ultimately being Janssen’s Brazilian wife.

About The Exhibition
Bart Janssen believes that portraiture is not just about creating a copy, but also about unearthing the thoughts and feelings that govern each subject. Choosing to depict those that are not typically shown in classical sculpture, Janssen says “I want these people to be seen, as I try to provoke a connection between the portrait and the viewer.

This exhibition includes sculptures from three of Janssen’s ongoing projects:

Londoners is a portrait series of homeless Londoners. With these works, the viewer is invited to contemplate their subject's condition. On the street many of us avert our eyes, but here the viewer can stop and observe.

Windrush is a portrait series of the Windrush generation. Having lived in the UK since 2016, Janssen is aware of the “Windrush scandal”, which refers to the hostile environment created by the UK government to track down mainly Caribbean immigrants of the 1950/60/70s. Janssen wants to give this generation faces and represent their beauty and diversity in portrait sculpture.

Black Beauty is a portrait series of black women with its inspiration ultimately being
Janssen’s Brazilian wife.

SHOW MORE
SHOW LESS

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

FACE TO FACE<br />

An <strong>Exhibition</strong> of Contemporary Bronze Sculptures.<br />

London Lighthouse Gallery & Studio<br />

By Bart Janssen<br />

London Lighthouse Gallery & Studio, 18 Lyell Street, London City Island, E14 0SZ<br />

Gallery@londonlighthousegalley.com<br />

+44 2075154484<br />

1


Introduction<br />

I am intrigued by faces and what goes on behind them, but I would rather observe and scrutinize than talk to<br />

find out what goes on behind them. In the studio, while working on a portrait, I am living for that magical<br />

moment when the clay comes to life and the person appears. “Presence” is what I am looking for. Making a<br />

portrait is not about creating a one-to-one “Mme Tussaud” like copy of a person’s head. One attempts to add<br />

drama, character, personality – these qualities do not always come to the fore in a single momentaneous<br />

recording like a photograph. Impressions, conversations, sentiments, moods (the model’s or mine) are all<br />

ingredients to a good portrait sculpture or painting. I am happy with models talking as it will show not only<br />

anatomical details that might be characteristic of the sitter, but it could also reveal their emotional states and<br />

thinking, which I will attempt to feed back into the portrait.<br />

In my portraits I often represent groups of people that are not typically represented in classical sculpture. I<br />

want those people to be seen, and I try to provoke a connection between the portrait and the viewer. That’s<br />

why I use e.g., high plinths, so that the portrait can be viewed face to face, and I often use extensive<br />

descriptions. Almost always the model is not just “a model”, that is, just a means to create a sculpture. Most<br />

of my portraits represent real people, sculpted face to face.<br />

In terms of process, I typically need 4 -5 sessions of 3 - 4 hours each to finish a portrait in simple waterbased<br />

clay. The posing sessions are typically spread out over 4-5 weeks. Moulds are made from the clay<br />

sculpture, and a foundry casts the bronze editions using the lost wax procedure. During the casting process I<br />

pay particular attention to the patina stage. The bronze busts are typically mounted on black granite. My<br />

busts are about life-sized, with heights of 40-50cm, base included. I limit the number of bronze editions<br />

generally to 9 copies.<br />

2


Adam and Eve<br />

The original clay portraits were created at a workshop at the Florence Academy of Art in 2016. During the<br />

modelling sessions the male model talked about his crossing of the Mediterranean as a boat refugee some<br />

years earlier. I immediately associated this with the first humans moving out of Africa in pre-historic times<br />

to populate the world. Whatever the founders of humanity looked like, they would for sure not have had<br />

blond hair and blue eyes as they are typically represented in Western art…. I added some drapery to give the<br />

figures the significance and gravity befitting the founders of humanity.<br />

Adam, 72x52x24cm, weight 25kg, bronze on black granite base; Eve, 78x37x24cm, weight 20kg, bronze on black granite base<br />

3


Nostalgia for Brazil (Carmen)<br />

Carmen is a family friend and ceramist. She was born in the interior of Bahia, Brazil, and has been living in<br />

the UK for two decades. The silence of the studio and a prospective trip to Brazil put her in nostalgic mood.<br />

For Carmen the UK is paradise, she has not had many opportunities in Brazil and was at times profoundly<br />

hurt in her birth country, but an unmistakable longing for her origins remains.<br />

Nostalgia for Brazil, 2017, 46x21x26cm, weight 12kg, bronze on black granite base<br />

4


The Student (Luana)<br />

Luana was the 15-year-old daughter of a family friend. She wants to become a professional dancer.<br />

The Student, 2018, 48x23x26cm, weight 16kg, bronze on a black granite base.<br />

5


The Lady from Sardinia (I)<br />

Model Valentina is a family friend. She is from Sardinia but living in London since a decade. I loved her<br />

classical Mediterranean features.<br />

The Lady from Sardinia I, 2018, bronze 61x35x30cm on a black granite base, weight 25kg<br />

6


The Lady from Sardinia (II)<br />

Model Valentina is a family friend. She is from Sardinia but living in London since a decade. I loved her<br />

classical Mediterranean features.<br />

The Lady from Sardinia I, 2018, bronze 44x28x28cm on a black granite base, weight 17kg<br />

7


Female <strong>To</strong>rso<br />

Female torso, modelled from live. Often it was only the torso of classical Greek and Roman sculptures that<br />

survived, and since the Renaissance the human torso is an inspirational study objects for generations of<br />

figurative sculptors. The sculpture was modelled as natural as possible, without idealization.<br />

Female torso, 2017, 65x24x23 cm (incl. base), bronze, on a fixed bronze base, weight 18kg<br />

8


Penelope<br />

Penelope. Female figure study, modelled from live. The sculpture was modelled as natural as possible,<br />

without idealization.<br />

Penelope, 2017, 65x20x20 cm (incl. base), bronze, on a fixed bronze base, weight 9kg<br />

9


Preparedness<br />

“Preparedness”, study of the female figure. The model had some background in body building, and she is<br />

seen here flexing her arm muscles.<br />

Bronze, 2019, 46x12x12cm, weight 7kg<br />

10


Matthew<br />

I met Matthew through a fellow artist. Matthew, here in a somewhat pensive mood, juggled a complicated<br />

family life with work, study and artistic aspirations. Matthew is the son of Osunyemi whose portrait is also<br />

shown in this exhibition.<br />

Matthew, 2019, bronze 43x28x23cm on a black granite base, weight 16kg<br />

11


Fatima<br />

Fatima, one of the few portraits I modelled based on photos only.<br />

Fatima, 2019, bronze 45x18x20cm, bronze on a black granite base, weight 10kg<br />

12


The Girl of Cape Verde (I)<br />

Model Patricia was scouted by my wife in a London pharmacy. Patricia, originally from Cape Verde, but<br />

living in France, spent some time in London to study English.<br />

The Girl of Cape Verde (I), 2019, 43x28x23 bronze on a black granite base, weight 16kg<br />

13


The Girl of Cape Verde (II)<br />

Model Patricia was scouted by my wife in a London pharmacy. Patricia, originally from Cape Verde, but<br />

living in France, spent some time in London to study English.<br />

The Girl of Cape Verde (II), 2019, bronze 45x36x20cm, weight 14kg. The sculpture has a horizontal bar on the back and is to be<br />

attached on a wall.<br />

14


<strong>To</strong>rin (I)<br />

Sculpture inspired by the American model and artist <strong>To</strong>rin Ashtun.<br />

<strong>To</strong>rin (I) 40x23x23cm , bronze on a black granite base, weight 13kg<br />

15


<strong>To</strong>rin (II)<br />

Sculpture inspired by the American model and artist <strong>To</strong>rin Ashtun.<br />

<strong>To</strong>rin (II) 38x35x16cm, weight 12kg Sculpture to be suspended on wall.<br />

16


LONDONERS<br />

Londoners is a series of portrait of homeless Londoners. With these portrait sculptures I want<br />

to invite viewers to contemplate their subject's condition. On the street a many of us avert<br />

our eyes and close ourselves off. Here the viewer can stop for a moment, observe, and<br />

contemplate the sadness and solitude of a crippled existence.<br />

The idea to sculpt portraits of homeless people came in November 2019. I had already spotted Frank a<br />

couple of times. I’d never really spoken to him but sometimes bought a Big Issue journal from him. I still<br />

see Frank standing in front of a Home-Base store, between the shopping carts, trying to protect himself from<br />

the cold wind and rain – hiding himself, not wanting to be seen; a very poignant sight. At some point I<br />

approached him and explained what I did asking whether he was interested in posing. It took some time to<br />

sink in what I wanted but finally he agreed coming to my studio.<br />

It quickly occurred to me that it would be interesting to do a series of portraits, and I fixed the number<br />

arbitrarily at 12. I started roaming the streets of London in search of models. I did not have to go very far.<br />

Almost all my models come from the area of Swiss Cottage, West-Hampstead, Kilburn, and<br />

Cricklewood. The model search is selective. I looked for ‘interesting' faces, I looked for diversity, people of<br />

different age, ethnicity and gender. In an initial conversation I scrutinize the candidate for potential issues<br />

like serious alcohol or drug addiction, or mental health issues. I am a Sculptor, not a Social Worker, and I<br />

felt that I might not be able to deal with complicated cases. In the meantime, I started feeling good about<br />

helping out a small number of homeless people by offering them a small job that would mean at least for 3<br />

or 4 weeks they might eat better and maybe spend a few nights in a hostel. The Corona crisis and lockdowns<br />

caused significant delays in my work,<br />

but I did not want to stop completely<br />

and deprive my models of a bit of<br />

income they badly needed.<br />

It often felt awkward and<br />

inappropriate observing the subject<br />

losing himself in his thoughts or<br />

memories. Some of the models felt<br />

awkward as well, especially when I<br />

scrutinized their faces for detail.<br />

Bronze portraits are often reserved for<br />

the valiant or the rich and famous, but<br />

I wanted the same noble materials for<br />

these people.<br />

17


Frank<br />

Frank is Spanish and has lived in the UK and Ireland for 40 years. For 10 years he has been homeless,<br />

sharing a tent with a friend. During the Corona crisis he lived in a hotel in Swiss Cottage.<br />

As the sculptor concentrates on his work and the conversion stalls, the model slides off into his world as<br />

well. It is that moment that is captured here: Frank sliding off in his empty and lonely world, staring into an<br />

existential abyss. It is heartbreaking and feels uncomfortable, inappropriatee even, witnessing, observing,<br />

the moment that somebody goes under in sadness and despair.<br />

Frank, 2020, 43x22x22 cm, weight 14kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

18


Carlos<br />

Carlos is Portuguese and became homeless only recently. He was still attempting to come to terms what had<br />

happened to him. Ending up in the street left him bewildered, lost, not knowing what to do next. Later in<br />

2020 he was put up in a hotel as part of the Covid measures.<br />

Carlos, 2020, 44x26x21 cm, weight 16kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

19


Geoff<br />

Geoff has been struggling with homelessness for 5 years. He is an intelligent and kind person, having a<br />

sharp awareness of his condition, but is not able to change it.<br />

Geoff’s demeanor reveals unmistakably a touch of irony observing the fast-paced madness of the London<br />

high street.<br />

Geoff, 2020, 40x23x23 cm, weight 14kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

20


Mike<br />

Following a bereavement Mike’s drug use took a turn for the worse and he ultimately lost his job and flat.<br />

Mike has an excellent education, and he worked at a banker/broker, but deep down hated the corporate<br />

world. Mike has an obvious rebellious streak: “The one good thing about being homeless is that you are<br />

really away from it all.” Later in 2020 he succeeded obtaining a place in a permanent hostel and is working<br />

on his rehabilitation. He was on a good track, but when I met him again a year later he unfortunately had<br />

relapsed and was on the street again, blaming the crack users in his hostel for his relapse.<br />

Mike, 2020, 45x21x21 cm, weight 13kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

21


Marcus<br />

Soft spoken and polite, Marcus emanated a certain sense of acceptance of his fate, resignation maybe. He<br />

was one of the few models who arrived mostly in time for the posing sessions, and he prided himself in<br />

doing what he says he will do as “my word is the only thing I own”.<br />

Marcus’ head is a sculptor’s dream, bony, strong features, emaciated… The latter sadly in part caused by his<br />

misery. Sculpting the portrait of Marcus often evoked ambivalent emotions. I recognize the voyeur in<br />

myself, but I remain at the same time the scrutinizing sculptor. I try to redeem myself by restoring in the<br />

portrait the subject’s strength, proudness and humanity that emanated from the stories of his past.<br />

Marcus, 2020, 45x23x24 cm, weight 16kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

22


Vicki<br />

Vicki is Marcus’ girl friend. At the time she lived with him in a tent near Kilburn station. An enthusiastic<br />

model and avid reader, but not very talkative. A couple of months later she and Marcus moved into a<br />

homeless hostel in Camden.<br />

Vicki, 2020, 38x21x21 cm, weight 13kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

23


Ted and Royalty<br />

Ted has been struggling with homelessness for more than 15 years but got since recently a flat because of<br />

his medical conditions. Royalty is a happy dog and the public generously provided food for her as they seem<br />

to be more concerned about her than about him.<br />

Ted and Royalty, 2020, 50x30x27cm, weight 20kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

24


Shakes<br />

Shakes (Robbie) has been struggling with homelessness for more than 20 years but has since recently a flat.<br />

“Dread, Beat and Blood” was the title of a poem Robbie wrote in his adolescence and that was published in<br />

the journal “West Indian World”. After that he was nicknamed “Shakes”, after Shakespeare.<br />

Shakes, 2020, 48x21x27cm, weight 16kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

25


Michael<br />

Michael is originally from Rhodesia but lives in London since childhood. He has been struggling with<br />

homelessness for a number of years. He used to preach on the street.<br />

Michael, 2020, 47x24x28cm, weight 20kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

26


Ioan<br />

Ioan (Jo-han) from Rumania is an avid seller of the journal “The Big Issue”. Ioan hated posing, he had not<br />

understood me initially about what he was supposed to do, only having picked up that I had a job for him.<br />

He would have preferred breaking his back carrying bricks, but posing was the only thing I had for him.<br />

Ioan, 2021, 47x23x28cm, weight 15kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

27


George<br />

George has struggled with homelessness for 5 years. He is very sociable and talkative person, but at the<br />

same time restless and agitated. He lived in a hostel in Camden for some time. Recently I heard that he had<br />

restarted using drugs and had disappeared.<br />

George, 2021, 38x21x21cm, weight 14kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

28


Sandy<br />

Quick-witted Sandy is George’s cousin, she has been struggling with homelessness for 15 years. Sandy and<br />

George live in the same hostel in Camden. Recently she has been offered a flat because of her medical<br />

conditions. Sandy’s story is a poignant reminder of how things can go wrong in life and how it can lead to<br />

destitution and misery.<br />

Sandy, 2021, 37x22x27 cm, weight 14 kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

29


WINDRUSH<br />

I moved to the UK in 2016. Settling in the British society, reading its newspapers and viewing its news<br />

channels my attention was drawn to the so-called “Windrush scandal”. The scandal refers to the<br />

consequences of the “hostile environment” created by the UK government and Home Office to track down<br />

immigrants that had arrived in the UK in the 1950/60/70s, often as a child, and never had left the UK. A<br />

Kafkaesque bureaucracy was created making it almost impossible for such persons to proof their legal<br />

status. Windrush people lost jobs, their right to healthcare and several them were deported. It was sobering<br />

and distressing to hear about the history of a generation of people who often had been treated unfairly and<br />

discriminatory ever since their arrival in the UK, to this day.<br />

I want to give the Windrush generation faces and represent their beauty and diversity in this series of portrait<br />

sculptures. Reading about their history, finding and interacting with the models became a personal journey<br />

into a for me heretofore unknown area of British society.<br />

From “Black and British”, by David Olusoga:<br />

“On 22 June 1948 the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks and 492 men from the West Indies came<br />

ashore […]. The arrival of the Empire Windrush is widely and rightly understood as a great watershed in the<br />

black history of Britain […]. “During the summer of 1948, as the Empire Windrush was crossing the<br />

Atlantic, the British Nationality Act was in the latter stages of becoming law. […] The act gave the people<br />

of the empire who had formerly held the status of British Subject the new status of Commonwealth Citizen.<br />

This gave them the right to enter and settle in Britain, which was seen as the necessary continuation of a<br />

long British tradition of open borders, which was deemed fitting for a nation at the centre of a vast (if<br />

rapidly collapsing) empire. By modern standards, post-war Britain’s immigration laws and her reaffirmation<br />

of citizenship rights to hundreds of millions of her colonial subjects were incredibly liberal.”<br />

From “Tribes”, by David Lammy, MP :<br />

“On a crisp morning in 2018, I was sitting in the House of Commons chamber with a knot in my stomach. I<br />

was waiting to ask the home secretary an urgent question about the government’s Hostile Environment<br />

policy that had led to the abuse of thousands of British Caribbeans in what became known as the Windrush<br />

scandal. […] I could not stop thinking of my mother and my aunts who had come to Britain from the<br />

Caribbean in the 1950s and ‘60s as part of the Windrush generation – women who had toiled tirelessly as<br />

nurses in the NHS, who had bent their backs working painfully long shifts and whose hands bore callouses<br />

resulting from their seemingly unending workloads. I thought of their struggle to be accepted in Britain. I<br />

thought of how hard they had worked to be recognized as part of this country and how painful it would have<br />

been from them to learn that seventy years on from their arrival, they were still not British in the eyes of<br />

their government.”<br />

30


Osunyemi<br />

Osunyemi was born in Trinidad and emigrated to the UK in the 1970-ties to train as a nurse. Later in life she<br />

reconnected to her African spirituality and got initiated into the Yoruba traditions as a priestess of Osun and an<br />

initiate of Ifa.<br />

Osunyemi, 2021, 41x25x25 cm, weight 17kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

31


Sonny<br />

Sonny was born in Trinidad. In 1958, as a 17-year-old, he emigrated to the UK. He spent most of his working life at<br />

British Telecom.<br />

Sonny, 2021, 42x23x23 cm, weight 16kg, bronze on black granite base, in progress.<br />

32


Joanne<br />

Joanne was born in Granada and emigrated to the UK as a child in the 1960-ties. She worked in health and social care<br />

and retired from the NHS in 2020.<br />

Joanne, 2022, 50x24x27cm, weight 19kg, bronze on black granite base, in progress.<br />

33


Ernest<br />

Ernest (SHEKHEMUI KHA) was born in West Africa and emigrated to the UK as a child in the 1960s. He is an African<br />

Ancestral Art dealer and the founder of Maat African Art which has one of the largest ancestral art collections<br />

website. He is also a specialist in alternative healing and holistic health. He was a Windrush Scandal victim avant la<br />

lettre, that is before it turned into the public Windrush Scandal in 2018. Also people with no roots in the West Indies,<br />

but elsewhere in the Commonwealth, were affected by the Hostile Environment.<br />

Ernest, 2022, 55x28x27 cm, weight 20kg, bronze on black granite base.<br />

34


DALSTON<br />

Dalston is an area in East London, part of the borough of Hackney. It has historically been the home to<br />

various minority populations including Windrush people. On Gillett Square elderly Windrush men from<br />

Dalston or elsewhere meet up on an almost daily basis to have a chat and a smoke. I encountered many<br />

inspiring faces around Gillett Square and Ridley Road, and I am in the process of creating a separate series<br />

of portraits of people in this area. Denis, the boxer, is the first.<br />

DENIS<br />

“Dalston : Denis, the boxer”, 2022, bronze, 38x23x23cm, weight 14kg<br />

35


About the Artist<br />

Bart Janssen was born in the Netherlands. He is trained as a physicist, with a specialism in Elementary<br />

Particle Physics. Janssen worked for 5 years as a Research Scientist at CERN in Geneva. Subsequently<br />

working for a decade and a half in financial business. During his career Janssen attended short drawing and<br />

sculpture courses but due to workload and stress was never able to develop his artistic ambitions to his<br />

satisfaction.<br />

Since 2015 sculpture has played an important role in his activities. Without a formal art education Janssen<br />

has learnt the craft through a large number of workshops, mainly from (ex-)tutors at the Florence Academy<br />

of Art and the Heatherley School of Art. He has lived in London since 2016.<br />

Janssen was elected member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors (SPS) in March 2021.<br />

Publications<br />

The Guide Artists, December 2021, p.152-162<br />

<strong>Exhibition</strong>s<br />

2018 SPS Annual <strong>Exhibition</strong> Nostalgia for Brazil The Society’s Prize - commended<br />

2019 SPS Annual <strong>Exhibition</strong> The Student<br />

2020 SPS Annual <strong>Exhibition</strong> Londoners – Frank Heatherley Prize - commended<br />

R. Bowman – special recognition<br />

2021 ARC International Realism<br />

15th International ARC Salon Londoners – Frank ARC Staff Prize<br />

The Girl from Cape Verde<br />

(FACE) award.<br />

2021 SPS Annual <strong>Exhibition</strong> Londoners - Michael The Society’s Prize - commended<br />

Londoners - Ioan<br />

2021 De Nederlandse Portretprijs, Slot Zeist. Londoners – Marcus Finalist.<br />

2021 London Art Biennale Londoners – Frank<br />

2021 Trinity Buoy Wharf TBW Open Day exhibition - Londoners<br />

2022 Ruurlo, Netherlands “Good Looking in Ruurlo”, Londoners – Marcus<br />

2022 Trinity Buoy Wharf TBW Open Day exhibition - Various pieces<br />

2022 SPS Annual <strong>Exhibition</strong> Windrush – Osunymi, Londoners - Geoff<br />

2022 London Lighthouse Gallery FACE TO FACE, solo exhibition September 2022<br />

Instagram @bart.janssen001<br />

bart.janssen001@gmail.com<br />

Studio 4 Proving House, 75 Trinity Buoy Wharf, London E14 0FR<br />

36

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!