27 October 2018

A Piece of Blue Velvet Hanging

Presentation CPVA residents Ben Cain, Jort van der Laan

image: Jort van der Laan, Neither of Us is Powerless, 2018, video, 8-minute loop, courtesy the artist

A two-day exhibition by Ben Cain and Jort van der Laan that’s concerned with the changing definitions of, and the porosity between bodies and things.

October 27 & 28, 2018
13.00 17.00

Ben Cain (UK, 1975) and Jort van der Laan (NL, 1986) were selected for a two-stage residency program organized by the Kings College Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts (CPVA) and Kunsthuis SYB.

Talking to, talking with, talking at. Listening to. Looking, being looked at. Exchanging, exchanging glances. Giving, receiving, refusing. All these events, processes, or moments, whatever you want to call them, might involve affect and therefore some form of production, and perhaps some form of change? So, I’m talking about the affect of people on things and vice versa.  The physical give and take, to-ing and fro-ing that we perform when we negotiate other things and other bodies, sometimes mistaking one for the other, a body for a thing. Handling something or somebody, imaging handling something, the weight, the temperature, the texture, the responsibility, the degree of live-ness. Are we allowed to handle it? I can’t handle that. Can you handle it… While in residency at SYB, Ben Cain would like to consider these questions through the process of arranging found and purpose-made objects in spaces, whilst more or less at the same time trying to think about what a productive encounter might be, or look like, or feel like.

View / download print-out exhibition

Ben Cain lives and works in London and Zagreb. Ben completed his MA at Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht in 2000, and a BA in Interactive Art in Manchester in 1997. Throughout his career he has worked with sculpture, installation, theatre, sound, performance, and publication. Ben Cain’s practice deals with themes of work, labour, and artistic action. He has recurrently explored art’s ambiguous relationship to industry, commodification and immaterial labour, and is interested in how artworks might pose questions about what we think they are doing and, by implication, our role as viewers in their social and cultural production. His work has been exhibited internationally including Manifesta 9; Busan Biennale, South Korea; Croatian Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale (with Tina Gverović), Wiels, Brussels; Supplement, New York; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Turner Contemporary, Margate; BlueCoat Gallery, Liverpool; South London Gallery, London. He is a tutor in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, he runs a residency programme at CASS School of Art, both in London; and he works as a professor at WHW Academy in Zagreb.


Jort van der Laan has been working at Kunsthuis SYB on ‘Neither of us is powerless’ (2018) an experimental new video work that approaches the airport as a transitory, extraterritorial space. In the belief that meaning is constructed at the margins of experience, the video explores the airport’s often overlooked architecture, systems of control, and visual textures in shots that frequently conceal more than they reveal. The video work is accompanied by a massage menu of words made with Charlotte Rooijackers and both organic and mechanical playlist compiled by Jeroen Vermandere.

Jort van der Laan lives and works In Amsterdam and Maastricht. He completed his MA at the Dutch Art Institute in 2011, and a BA at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2009. Working primarily with video and printed matter, his practice forms an ongoing investigation of ways in which body and mind are flesh-bound to the current political. If we would invoke Media as one of our muses, what would she show us? A deeper understanding and logistical awareness, making it immediately obvious that the apparently minutest action of, say, eating a sandwich, actually encompasses a far wider system of the whole world’s grain markets? Aside from his work as an artist he has been involved with Studium Generale Rietveld since 2011. Works and projects have been shown, or taken place, at Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Utrecht; Rongwrong, Amsterdam; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Zico House, Beirut, amongst others.