Jan van Oost "Jan van Oost"

Jan van Oost "Jan van Oost"

de Appel, Prinseneiland 7, Amsterdam
‘Next to a work in New York [where De Appel organises an exhibition in Artists Space from December 11, 1986 through January 25, 1987 called Contained Attitudes], Jan van Oost (Deinze, 1961) will be making a work for De Appel which will be on show from February 14 onwards on the Prinseneiland premises. Like Hermann Pitz, Van Oost focuses on the space in which the work is to be but his purpose is neither to change the scale of it nor to cast doubts upon concepts like monumentality. Van Oost builds sculptures which at first sight look anonymous, seemingly industrially fabricated, and remind one of familiar objects like counters, doorways or small towers. The dimensions of these constructions are on a human scale: the houses or towers could enclose one single person, the counters could be confessionals, meant for private conversations between two persons at the most. Intrigued by the pseudo-familiarity, the observer is inclined to give the work a closer look, until he gets the feeling that the work is examining him: the glossiness of the surface gives the work an objective and untouchable 'raison d'être' and through reflection throws the observer back upon himself. Van Oost's constructions often have a menacing character, especially when the spaces are confining and look like prison cells or coffins. It are, moreover, precisely the familiar elements (a hyaphone, or a piece of wallpaper) which enhance the threat, as if the objects indicate that feelings of isolation, emptiness and death can constantly descend on us even in familiar surroundings.’ ( ‘Anonimity and threat with Jan van Oost’, Newsletter De Appel, 1 (1986) 5.)