Jeroen Nelemans: Hairy Rainbow

Sep 12, 2015

Upon entering Jeroen Neleman’s show This Lemon is not Yellow, there is a clear relationship made between the gallery setting and a minimal retail space. There is a tense calm that fills the gallery and the line between art and object becomes tangled as we move through the space. Jeroen’s light box displays reflect tablets and smart devices we regularly find ourselves interacting with.The are filled with cellophane, acrylic, and other materials that loose their indiviual properties to become iridescent shapes and planes within the borders they push against.

In the exhibition, there are two separate iterations of these displays. On a center table, there are several light boxes on display. With similar size to a tablet they are laid out like one would see iPads or other tablets. Surrounding the room, we find larger displays mounted on small sections of move-able walls.

The distinction with Neleman’s work in This Lemon is not Yellow comes in at least two different ways. First we notice the difference between the scale of the work. The work displayed in the center of the exhibition directly relates to the world outside itself. It holds a direct link through the very specific aspect ratio we associate with smart devices. This coupled along with the display draw us into an art viewing experience but also a shopping experience is triggered. It’s as if we will buy one of these light boxes and buy a case for it and the extended warranty.

However, we are drawn out of this experience by the actual act of making the work that has occurred. When looking at the work, we can see the materials that went into it. We can see the now luminous materials pushing boundaries, trying to escape off the edges or push out through the glass front, piling on top of itself.

The wall pieces provide us with something harder to relate to but equally as mesmerizing. We see these on sections of movable walls coming out into the actual space of the gallery. Their size relates them less to smart devices and land them closer to somewhere between picture frames and mirrors. We see ourselves reflected in these objects. We are illuminated by the multi-colored glow and mesmerized by the layered patterns.

This Lemon is not Yellow engulfs viewers in both a mesmerizingly calm environment, full of ethereal light, and an awkwardly awakening reflection of ourselves. It seems then that we are both fixed to our technology and committed to push away from it. It soothes us and keeps us up at night. Nelemans has simultaneously created an exhibition that draws our attention to our technological fascination and created a space that mimics that sensation.