Renskeannacox visual arts
The work of Renske Cox is the interrogation of a young artist on the animal condition of man and the principle of gender.
What sets humanity apart in the kingdom of the living? What is its place in nature? How to reconcile sexuality, biological impulses and moods, psychological experiences and spiritual expectations? How to be a man? How to be a woman?
How can one dare to be oneself by cultivating one's yin side and one's yang side after the utopias of feminism?
How to find one's place in the perpetual movement of the universe? Why does the ephemeral govern life?
All these questions jostle one another and intersect one another in an explosion of multifaceted research.
Renske Cox doesn’t stop to wonder about the principles of biology. She marvels with gravity. "We are stuck in a body led by impulses that go back to the beginnings of humanity" she continues: "A pear works almost according to the same principles as a human being”. The bud becomes flower, the flower becomes fruit. It grows, matures, detaches itself from the tree to follow its destiny and perhaps continue the cycle of life by releasing its seeds into the earth. Between birth and death, there is the game of reproduction. Appearance, multiplication, disappearance. This is not the proper of the plant; it is the same for other species.
Man is part of this cycle that escapes our understanding.
Nature is hermetic. She keeps her secrets jealously and does not let herself be deflowered. Our certainties are put to the test.
The stability of our lives, or even their reality, seems to be perhaps a mirage. Nothing is static, everything moves without stopping regardless of its rank in creation. Some elements reproduce, others do not. If a seed germinates, it's not the same with a pebble.
Some organisms are sexed, others are not. Different orders are superimposed. Although scientists observe more and more finely the phenomena, all scales combined, they fail to grasp the why of these flows of life: secretions, menstrual blood, sperm, breast milk, pollen, germinations, fertilizations in utero, decomposition of organic matter, cellular divisions that go on forever and sometimes go out of control ...
In a falsely naive way, Renske Cox takes up the soft universe of dollhouses, the baby blue and the pink of the Barbie generation. She films a video where she shapes ephemeral sculptures of soapy foam. She multiplies approaches and techniques.
She sketches silhouettes of women in the manner of a little girl. With a marker, she draws seedlings ready to hatch or a breast from which the milk spurts. She draws in pencil identical female characters, the faces without features, connected by their sole braids. She models objects that she calls "organs" of soap or wax: embryo, penis, pistils ... their reading is never unequivocal. She uses felt, wool, fresh eggs, knits udders that she fills with flour, embroiders words addressed to God, sculpts lipsticks that arise from their tube like erect sexes.
Her photographic work combines plants and sexual attributes.
Portraits and self-portraits. Pregnancy, maternity, being a woman. Birth of breasts and hollow of the back, impossible to guess which part of the body is photographed. The light caresses the milky epidermis emphasizing the fragility of youth and beauty. The lens captures moments of intimacy by modulating the brightness.
A goldfish in a bowl, a metaphor for the uterus and amniotic fluid, is placed on the bare belly of a melancholy young woman.
A female body finds itself decked with fruit, the chest collapses, the weight of age is marked. This series evokes the passage of time that constantly changes appearances and perhaps the nature of beings and things.
Renske Cox combines different works to create installations. She disseminates clues and launches sensitive tracks. They provide the first elements of a visual narration that is not concluded. The images show formal analogies. Up to the viewer to grasp the elusive.
Renske Cox's work unfolds in smoke and mirrors, trying to lure you in and send you back to fundamental questions. It's a multiple questioning on the identity of the living, its diversity and biological differences as if the artist seeks to unravel the mystery of our animal existence and maybe even to crunch the forbidden fruit..
Michèle Minne Art historian and art critic