Thijs Jansen | Kunst op de WC
November 9, 2021 to March 27, 2022 at Museum Jan Cunen, Oss
When do you get closer to someone than in their bathroom? Despite the fact that we do not see the artist's face in the hyper-realistic painting Self-reflection in bathroom mirror, it is unmistakably a self-portrait. On the washbasin we see which hand soap, toothbrush and toothpaste the artist uses. In the mirror – an age-old compositional trick to draw the viewer into the scene – we see the dark blue T-shirt and the carefully painted chest hairs of the maker: Thijs Jansen (1986). Pretty intimate. Anyone who peeks further has the pleasure of being able to look at him after all. Because what the mirror does not reveal, the reflective chrome of the faucet does.
The roots of the museum are located where the toilets are now. City archivist Jan Cunen started here by collecting a municipal collection, which was opened to the public in 1935. Reason enough to transform the smallest rooms into exhibition spaces; a place where you spend one-on-one time with art. Jan's glasses refer here to history, the wobbly glass dome to the previous exhibitor: Koos Buster Stroucken (1991). For the second edition of Kunst op de WC, he passes the baton to Thijs Jansen, a fine painter with a raw edge.
The works shown do not all refer literally to the place where they are presented: the toilets. But a physical aspect – from a woman's buttocks or his father's torso to a pile of 'dirty' magazines – is invariably present in the selection. Thijs: 'Physicality, and the slight discomfort that it can evoke, belongs to these spaces. In addition, hanging work that is very valuable in man-hours on a toilet creates a friction that I find interesting.'