ARTISTS STATEMENT 2004: Over the last two years I have made a series of human scale traps based on small Victorian animal traps, like 'Gin' and 'Rat' traps. Produced in mirror polished stainless and mild steel, the traps are fully operational with enlarged spring systems. A real danger is presented to the safety of the viewer. I ask the viewer to engage with these shiny enticing objects. But to become too familiar would cause serious risk, so the pieces remain untouched, imbued with a feeling of superiority in their make up. The viewer is left feeling alienated, in suspense at the capabilities of the pieces abilities. The traps are harnessed within themselves as objects, until human intervention turns them into questions for the audience about their own vulnerability and fragility.
Recently I have been working with the Metropolitan Police who have agreed to give me the decommissioned guns from the 2003 London Gun Amnesty. I created a floor piece made of several thousand pieces of guns. The piece represents the boroughs map of London. This was shown in December 2004 at the City Hall London.
My work has often encompassed issues of denial and social exclusion such as toys, games and gymnasium equipment whose function has been forfeited due to the inclusion of glass in critically physically engaging parts.Jan Kempenaers
Kempenaers' photographic oevre since the 90's is influenced by artists like Bernd and Hilla Becher, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and Dutch photographers like Wout Berger and Hans Aarsman. In his work, Kempenaers shows his fascination for landscapes and architecture as well as a fascination that is not entirely free from irony with the different "hybrid mixtures" of contemporary landscapes. His often highly placed position of the camera produces far-off panoramic views with perspectives that are frequently impressive. They show landscapes in transition, cities that are developing and buildings that are in use or declining. Human figures rarely appaer in Kempenaers' work. Consequently his landscapes remind one of empty stages which, as a product of human intervention, appaer to be waiting in vain for the next meaningful action.
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