amsterdam: sarah van sonsbeeck

© oude kerk / photography: gert-jan van rooij

initially trained as an architect, sarah van sonsbeeck [1976] later transfered to amsterdam's renowned gerrit rietveld academie, following a trajectory with more artistic objectives instead. interestingly, van sonsbeeck's very first artwork spawned from being subjected to loud neighbours in a specific phase of her private life, and ever since, she's had a fascination of silence as a conceptual phenomenon, discovering a connection between architecture and visual art along the way. van sonsbeeck is the first of a new series of contemporary artists to exhibit at oude kerk, the oldest structure in the dutch capital, who will incorporate the ornate medieval backdrop in a presentation that not only connects past and presence, but also lends it a new cultural relevance. the showcase, elaborately entitled we may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now, is anchored by the artist's sojourn on tristan da cunha, a remote island situated in the vast expanse of the south atlantic ocean.

both its geophysical isolation and the variety of washed-up debri and objects have left a deep impression, and it's one that van sonsbeeck has now artistically linked to europe's current problem of seafaring illegal immigrants. opening at oude kerk on fri – may 19, the exhibition presents the floor of the church covered in a grid of gold, and which upon further inspection turn out to be space blankets, the very same objects that have become a fixture in today's media coverage of the mass migration. three sizeable replicas of a beached oxygen tank that the dutch artist found on the island, are featured in a separate installation, and similarly to the recycled use there, they're chimed with hammers, alluding the urgency of this ongoing humanitarian tragedy. location: oudekerksplein 23 [centrum].

© oude kerk / photography: gert-jan van rooij