Carlijn Mens captures the brightest light through the deepest carbonblack. Light projects shadows, light transforms trunks, branches, leaves and flowers into perpetually changing silhouettes. In time and space she traces shadows, black on white and light from dark, that nature and life draw for her on the earth, on branches, leaves, and plants, on floors and walls and sheets of paper. Her body is drawn in and engages in this performance of shadow and light. She is thus often present in the images – as an instrument which detects and registers, also as an entity which autonomously leaves imprints and which traces the presence of bodies other than hers. Body, charcoal, and paper together constitute a field which is being endlessly walked through and traversed.
Once I witnessed Carlijn working on one of her plant drawings. I saw her drawing lines, then tracing and smudging them with her fingers, saw how she would draw out a contour, bringing blacks and greys to the paper and fading them out into other greys and new whites. What struck me: with one movement she creates five things simultaneously. Each gesture, each second unfolds into plurality.