Suspended Fall


 A text written about the artwork of Babette Kleijn as shown in Eindhoven and Tilburg in 2014, By Marijke ten Caat

Check out Babette Kleijns’ work here:



Suspendend fall.

From a distance, the wall construction made by Babette Kleijn resembles a tightrope act. A thin thread is placed horizontally on the back wall. It is placed slightly higher than the middle of the wall.  It represents the horizon on which your eyes rest. The horizon acts as a balancing point between two areas that are not in balance with each other but perpetually strive towards it.  The horizontal line is the structure that supports, diffuses and increases the entire artwork.                  
Each separate part in the artwork is carefully orchestrated and despite the suggestion of heaviness through the use of dark colors and heavy materials, some parts within the construction seem to float upwards. As if the materials are transforming while you are watching it. It is like you are observing iron with a density of air. Your eyes read the space. Jumping back and forth between parts of the work and its overall presence. When you zoom in you notice irregularities, flaws, and microscopic small variations. From up-close, the black painted circles remind me of the dancing pixels you see before your eyes when nightfall sets in. The nylon threads, with parts of it painted, remind me of a trembling snare when it looks like a smudged form of colors and stripes.
The constructions of Babette Kleijn are from nearby opposed to what you see from a distance. There is a contrast in its aesthetical distant beauty and its nearby chaotic complexity. You don’t know if the work in front of you is unfolding or falling apart and it is that friction what keeps you alert while observing the artwork. As a result of this contrast, you give yourself space to focus without turning in any space. In this inner expanded space, a silence can arise.                
When you look at something for the first time often a tendency appears to refer it to something you’ve already seen. It puts your experience in a prefabricated mold, but maybe what you see isn’t at all referable to that mold. Maybe the artworks of Babette Kleijn are more like a strange language where the constructions are signs that refer to a hidden side of the work. You know it’s there, but you also know it is not possible to grasp it. It triggers your curiosity. It is this attitude towards observation what makes it an adventure because in the act of observing its impossibility is included: the impossibility to grasp or designate it in its entirety. That is not a loss, but an attainment.  
Sometimes you have a conversation where a silence falls because you don’t know what to say, you don’t have anything to say, or because it is just not necessary to say something. Often these silences in a conversation are experienced as uncomfortable and can evoke agitation, but that unease can also make you more sharp or alert. When a silence falls in a conversation it is also a moment where things become undefinable. It is an expanded space where you can play.

When you look at the wall constructions of Babette Kleijn you can observe with attention, without a direct framing of what you see in front of you. In the inner silence, you are suspended and in between things,  and the only thing you can rely on is yourself, and that is the dialogue between yourself and an artwork; a constant movement that moves towards or from you. So when you don’t try to grab or analyze, and when you stop thinking, then observing can become like the horizon; where you become aware of the infinity of possibilities of the horizon that never comes any closer, but does give you a sense of direction.