JOAN HALL - Your Existence is Not Unlike My Own

Joan Hall "Your Existence is Not Unlike My Own"

Joan Hall (b.1952, USA) is a visual artist and a professor in art at Sam Fox Center for Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, US. She was in Silkeborg in 2001, when this art centre showed the exhibition Paper Revisioned, marking the end of industrial paper production in Silkeborg.

The Art Centre Silkeborg Bad now invited Joan Hall to work in Silkeborg again, this time to present a solo show. For this occasion she has created a new piece, the large installation Your Existence is not Unlike My Own. The installation unfolds itself in the central column hall of the Art Centre. It is made by hand woven net, moulded, printed, painted and felted elements of paper. In a smaller room nearby our audience will find documentation for the earlier work of the artist.

Celebration of the Water

The power and the inspiration to this new installation come from a general fascination of the sea. As she expresses it herself: “Water is a powerful source that shapes our planet like a sculptor and intersects with our origins, sustains us in the present and is the key to our future.”

Personally she sailed thousand of miles in a sailing boat on the ocean. Her art work implies layers of messages and references and she combines actual experience with both ideas and specific matter. She looks upon her own work from a sculptor’s point of view and she is concerned about how form and volumes of the different objects relate to the space given. 

Being this passionate sailor she experienced both the beauty and the power of the sea, but at the same time she points to the fragility of the nature. With this installation she calls the attention to the idea that our existence is not being so unlike the existence of the sea – in constant movement and change.

Technique and challenging tradition

Curator Janet Faber from Joslyn Museum of Art, Omaha, describe the artist’s work:

“Joan Hall’s locus is the vast sea, where flux is the only constant and nature is sublime in every aspect. She employs the power of suggestion, using little imagery, relying instead upon color, texture and light to imply such natural phenomena as water, wind, current and wave. This she accomplishes through nearly sculptural installations of works that are neither truly drawing nor printmaking, but use paper as both medium and support. Influenced by Japanese techniques for producing a variety of exquisite, gossamer paper Hall makes her own sheets, preparing pulp from natural fibers. She adds color by tinting and uses acrylic to create a shifting sensation of transparency [..] Her multi-layered works hint at the depths of the seas, encouraging and then obscuring views into the mysteries that lie below. She negates any traditional sense of perspective, much as the waters themselves offer no obvious navigational clues other than the endless line of the horizon.“