RijksakademieOPEN 2016

Jonathan van Doornum’s work is inspired by the symbolism, visual language and decorative elements of religion. He plays with dichotomies, for example by incorporating influences of functional uses in sculptures that negate the functionality of these influences. He marries this formalistic approach to a fascination for the practical, everyday structures religion provides.

Van Doornum has always worked with sawn and bonded MDF as well as chipboard. In the recent months he has started working with epoxy clay, brightly coloured, precisely molded and abraded. Basic architectural elements such as horizontal and vertical lines function as symbolic representations of faith. They vary from art historical representations of resurrection and descent, to the step by step manuals for attaining eternal life that Van Doornum is familiar with.

Precise workmanship and artisanal sensibility play an important role in Van Doornum’s work. For 'Original Sin' (2016), for example, he constructed a towel hanging loosely on the wall out of several layers of MDF. He carefully carved out the very fragile residual material, exposing the deepest layers with the inlaid title. (DM)