Breathing Mountains

Antoinette Nausikaä

October 20 - November 25
Introduced by Hans den Hartog Jager, art critic, writer and curator

Event Amsterdam Art Weekend – Exploring Silence
Sunday November 25, 12 – 13 pm 

Five years ago, Antoinette Nausikaä decided she wanted to observe mountains. In the middle of her frantic urban life she developed a need for stillness and solitude, and she was convinced that mountains were the place to go. After all, throughout the centuries they have always been a refuge for man and an archetype for stability, calmness and tranquility. Concepts that seem so far removed from our modern everyday lives.

Soon however, she discovered that ‘pure’ silence and solitude were nowhere to be found. Looking for the timeless spirit of the mountains, she found fleeting traces of human existence everywhere – other people, ruins, circles, silver foils, clothing….

And so, almost casually, her quest developed into an investigation and presentation of one of the most pressing philosophical themes of this moment: the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene, as interpreted by many authoritative contemporary philosophers, deals with the idea that man and nature are fundamentally separated. An idea that is a typical product of nineteenth-century Romanticism, but is now considered to be out-of-dates. After all, our human presence is omnipresent, visible even in the geographical layers of the Earth.

The exhibition

For over five years Antoinette lived and worked on and around eight ancient mountains in Europe and Asia, each one of them a sacred icon and a pilgrimage destination. She travelled to Mount Fuji (JP), Olympus (GR), Ararat (AM) and the five most sacred mountains in China, the Wǔyuè. She observed them, climbed them, photographed, made drawings and dug in the earth for clay to make small sculptures.

This exhibition is the reflection of this project and includes a selection of images showing the different layers of her investigation. We witness Antoinette circling the mountain, looking, searching, and constantly balancing on the delicate high-wire between nature and culture.

Antoinette Nausikaä (Vlissingen, 1973) finished her studies at the Rijksakademie in 2010. She exhibited at various places both in the Netherlands and abroad, amongst others at Huis Marseille Photography Museum in Amsterdam, Kunstraum Dusseldorf, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, LUMC Leiden, Brummelkamp gallery Amsterdam, Meetfactory gallery in Prague, and European Art Center in Xiamen. Huis Marseille, LUMC Leiden, AMC Amsterdam and DNB Amsterdam included her work in their collection.

Amsterdam Art Weekend – Exploring Silence
Sunday November 25, 12 – 13 pm 

During the Amsterdam Art Weekend we invite the visitor to a Talk with Zen philosopher Maurice Knegtel prior to a short meditation. Together with the audience and the artist, he will investigate the theme of silence and reflect on the working process of Antoinette Nausikaä. How does it work for her to visually examine and present this subject?

Maurice is also the personal zen teacher of Antoinette and in that capacity he will talk with her and the audience about his discipline and angle of approach, namely Zen philosophy.

Maurice Knegtel Roshi (Rotterdam, 1963) is a teacher and master in the Soto zen tradition. He wrote several books (within which art and literature play a prominent role), made programs for the Dutch public broadcaster and regularly talks to a large audience. At the G10 of Economics and Philosophy in 2017 in Amsterdam, Knegtel talked to Rupert Sheldrake about awareness and perception.

For this event limited places are available. Please RSVP here. 



Book launch – Breathing Mountains

The opening of the exhibition will also be the official launch of her artist book Breathing Mountains (designed and published by Art Paper Editions in Ghent). Like the exhibition, Breathing Mountains is a reflection of her journey in which the images together form a serene portrait of what happens when nature and culture meet and coalesce without losing their distinctive qualities.