Positions # 3
Natasja Kensmil (Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1973) uses moments from (art) history to highlight the relationship between present and past. The movement of the Anabaptists has a central place in a number of her portraits and other history paintings. In her new silkscreens Martyrs Mirror (2016), she incorporates fragments of their executions, depicted in numerous prints by the 17th-century graphic artist Jan Luyken. Kensmil structures and interweaves her extensive archive of (art) historical imagery to compose new, dynamic and rhizomatic stories. She does not propose solutions or adopt a specific standpoint. Rather, she creates insights by discovering and evoking relationships and historical lines. She often uses barbaric images culled from mysticism and religion due to their lyrical power. With this, she makes past rituals, metaphors and symbols accessible to us in the present.