TEXT.ME Young Curators

On feelings, interaction and senses

On Tessa Langeveld’s ‘there’s something warm in everything’

 

By Alexia Alexandropoulou

A “breathing” lamp offers soft, rhythmic illumination at the heart of a video installation. Slowly, fragments and impressions appear and disappear. Drawings, videos, and objects are carefully placed, calling attention not only to their own forms but also to the darkness and space around them.

A narrative unfolds as you wander through space. A personal story is told, just for you, and you carry it from one point to another. Your body and perception move between digital and physical space. Wait for the light, then for the darkness. Breathe with the room. Can you feel it?

Author’s Statement

As part of the Young Master Curators’ program at Media Art Friesland I had the privilege to meet artists and makers from different parts of the globe. This encounter was very inspiring and enriching. For almost 10 days we were able to enjoy media art by young talented artists from all over the world.

The theme of this year’s festival Here and Now, more relevant than ever, brought to the audience a big variety of outdoor events, exhibitions, and talks. The biggest surprise, though, was the Young Master Artists’ exhibition. This is where I came across Tessa Langeveld and her work There is something warm in everything. Tessa’s practice is characterized by combining traditional and digital/moving media, such as drawings, video, and more.

The first words that come to my mind when I see her work are feelings and interaction. When entering the place, you feel that you can immediately become a part of it. You can transform it, you can read it with your own words, you can see it through your own lenses. From starting as a common spectator, you gradually become an active agent or protagonist of a story. 

This is your story shaped by the way you see things.

The space is a dark bedroom. Objects are placed in a surreal and unorthodox way. A ramshackle mattress hanging on the wall, wooden bed planks placed next to each other, a lamp sputtering rhythmically, papers stuck on the wall and covering what is behind as if they want to keep a secret and they are waiting for you to release it. And as you walk in the dark, you see a video installation and hear someone breathing. 

It feels like all the objects in the room call you to build a dialogue with them, to look carefully through them and reimagine the space, the time, the light, the darkness. 

Inevitably, you are invited in a mind game, completely free to think, to interact, to embrace the silence, and to eventually create your own narrative and meaning. What I also found extremely interesting while wandering there is that I could use all my senses. 

Touch by going closer to the objects and feel what is in there,
Sight by observing the space itself
Hearing while listening to someone breathing in a video installation,
Smell by smelling the old wooden planks and furniture in the room.

This experience activated not only my imagination but also stimulated my mind.

It also places the viewers in the role of the storyteller, by causing several feelings to them.

Through her work, Tessa builds an environment in which the visitor can feel something warm and safe. I would translate this warmth into the fact that you can easily find something for yourself in this room. To this end, she uses familiar objects that can be found in a common room. While being there, you are allowed to use them, by lying on the armchair, taking off the drawings from the wall, or even staying on the floor. As a result, any object acquires a unique value or meaning for every single viewer. Even if you are invited to wander in a dark and abandoned space, you can somehow find relief and the space to contemplate.

Ιf I could describe Tessa’s work in only one sentence, I would say that it is very introspective, unique to both the artist and the audience. “There’s Something Warm in Everything” turns breath into stories, and movement into meaning.

Tessa Langeveld graduated from AKI Academy for Art & Design, in Enschede, Netherlands in 2020. Her practice covers a wide range of media, including video, photography, text, drawings, collages, and sound. 

Pictures (c) Xanne Vera

About the author

About the author

Alexia Alexandropoulou (she/her) is a curator and cultural producer based in Athens. 

Recently she has worked at HANGAR Artistic Research Centre in Lisbon, Portugal. Previously she worked as Curatorial Assistant at the Biennale Matter of Art Prague and the contemporary art initiative tranzit.cz. She has also collaborated with the European Cultural Centre for the exhibition ‘Personal Structures – Identities in the context of the 58th Venice Art Biennale. 

The conditions that define her approach curatorially are interdisciplinarity and reflexivity. She is interested in initiating projects that operate as sites of social activation and dialogue and she constantly tries to provoke a feeling of togetherness, within an attempt to rethink the way we are connected to each other.

Alexia is an alum of the second edition of TASAWAR Curatorial Studios and a Postgraduate student at HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design: (Commissioning and Curating Contemporary Public Art)