Janaina Tschäpe

German, b. 1973, lives and works in New York

Janaina Tschäpe,  The Forest, The Cloud and The Sea , Catherine Bastide gallery, Brussels, 2013, exhibition view

Janaina Tschäpe, The Forest, The Cloud and The Sea, Catherine Bastide gallery, Brussels, 2013, exhibition view



Janaina Tschäpe was born on 1973 in Munich, Germany and was raised in São Paulo, Brazil.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Hochschule fur Bilende Kuenste, Hamburg and her Master in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New. The artist lives and works in New York.

Exploring all kinds of landscapes, Tschäpe’s work is an invitation to an extraordinary world, a sensual place full of malleable creatures and amorphous beings. Through various forms of expression, the artist constantly reinvents perceptions of the natural world, making use of a dynamic combination of photography, drawings, paintings and sculptures. Together these mediums work to bring the observer into Tschäpe’s watery, organic universe, one of curiosity, astonishment and wonder.

Water has a big weight on her work; one can observe its contribution and manifestation throughout most of her medias, its presence found in most of her work. Not only its fluidity, but also the layered aspects it builds, extensively investigated in her paintings and drawings, or as the field for sundry creatures and entities performed on her photographs and videos Water also works to render the sensual feminine world she embraces: the fertile universe of her fantastic subjective science. Jellyfish, mermaids, octopi, seahorses… The references are endless, creating a chart of extraordinary organisms inspired by memories, myths and dreams. Curiously, Tschäpe shares her name—Janaina—with a Brazilian sea goddess of the Candomblé religion.

The multifaceted structure of Tschäpe’s creative process functions as an attempt to organize and “categorize” her creatures, invents based on memories, myths and dreams, opening up a dialogue that subverts our usual perceptions of landscapes and beings, realigning our vision of the landscape and nature in general. Thriving for an endlessly prolific universe, Janaina is also somehow measuring time. As she writes, “You look at something and try to find out where it ends. So the contemplation of a landscape is always a search, the search of something new, the search of time.”

While in her earlier works Tschäpe often placed herself within the landscape, she now explores her memories, her inner after-images, conjuring her travels and expeditions to a deeply-layered remembrance. Whether through her paintings and drawings or photography and film, Tschäpe reacts to her life experiences in an intense meditative contemplation of the landscape.

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