“Spontaneity, openness in its reduction and subliminal humour.” Jenny Brosinski on her gestural oil paintings

“Accidentally”. Something speaks to us, a sound, a touch, hardness or softness, it catches us and asks us to be formed. This is the poetic premise, taken from lines by Anni Albers, that encapsulates the artistic thought processes behind Soft? Tactile DialoguesAs a collaboration with fashion institution MoMu, the exhibition is being shown at the Maurice Verbaet Center until the museum is ready to unveil its newly renovated space in 2020. Featuring tapestries, paintings, sculptures, clothing and tea towels, the first rooms sees installations of hanging, frayed rope and ethereal kite fabric that catches the light. At the forefront of the show is the artists’ interaction with material, and the blurred distinctions between fine art, textiles, fashion and crafts. It will walk you through 1970s explorations of femininity and domesticity, to fragile and kitsch wall hangings by contemporary artists. For the occasion, we’ve selected four participating artists whose work you cannot miss.

Jenny Brosinski’s (1984) paintings are about mark-making, materiality and the movements in paint. Hailing from a small village in the northern German countryside, the Berlin- based artist’s work is on display in the final days of the offshoot exhibition Soft? Extra Muros at PLUS-ONE Gallery. In some of her canvases, altering occurs in the shower or even in the washing machine and dryer. It is this experimentation with medium that makes Brosinski’s work central to the conceptual heart of Soft?. Read about how these thoughts and her instinctual practise form an intimate dialogue.

At its core, what is your work about? How would you describe it?

I would say it is superficially concerned with the painterly process.

What is its starting point and statement?

In my paintings I create, combine and discard – I create my own very personal rules, only to be able to finally break them. My work is process-oriented, minimalistic, and somehow also a reflection of time. In terms of content, my paintings deal with the questions of reality, memory and truth in the present, as well as in an art historical context.

Can you talk to us about your approach in general?

Many of my canvases remain untreated or have only a glazed primer. They show deliberately left behind traces of use, which reveals their essential materiality. I myself like the idea of mark-making. If I put colours subtly into the great emptiness of the canvas, they are often characterised by spontaneity in appearance. This is the reason why I don’t do sketches for paintings. They develop from experience as well as from speculation – never by chance, though.

What characterises your work?

Spontaneity, openness in its reduction and subliminal humour.

How do you actually work on a piece, from start to finish?

I mostly start working from the ground, making some marks. Later I put it up on a wall, and in the end I stretch it – or not, it depends. I do several paintings together at the same time. This helps as I don’t like to overthink or work in a calculated way. I like the idea that my paintings should look sloppy or easy – even when I was fighting with them. At it’s best, a painting combines humour and seriousness at the same time. To get this result I use everything a single painting needs, which varies from painting to painting. For example, I’ve used olive oil, chlorine, spray paint and even a washing machine in the past.

What series and / or project are you currently working on?

I’m currently installing my duo exhibition BrrBrr with Sascha Brylla at Bistro 21 in Leipzig. In my studio I’m subsequently working on a very minimalistic, middle-sized series, which are going to be combined with huge paintings.

Who would you say was instrumental in shaping your artistic practice?

Everybody I’ve met in my life, and everything I see. Children’s drawings as well.

Talk to us about the people around you, your local scene. To what extent does it inspire and influence you?

My local scene does and does not inspire me at the same time. Of course, it is important from time to time: life and painting are almost always about balance and decisions. There are a few artists with whom I maintain close contact, and this exchange is very important to me. Museum and studio visits inspires me, too. It’s the same as an ordinary walk around the neighbourhood or in nature; it always depends on what I discover.

What does success look like to you?

Getting to do what you do best and getting recognition for it.

To you, what role should contemporary art occupy in the community?

An important role. In my opinion, art has the power to change a lot.

Which Belgian artists do you follow, look at for inspiration? Either from the past or the present.

Philippe Vandenberg.

What was your first introduction to visual art?

While watching the news on TV with my grandfather, I saw my first Twombly and Picasso as part of an art auction report.

And what do your parents, your family, think of what you do?

My family is very slow and practical –I come from a family of craftsman – but less artistic. It took some decades for them to accept or better yet tolerate who I am. Luckily I have a mother who loves every breath I take – and for a few years now, every stroke I paint…

What you are up to in the months to come?

I will hopefully finish what I’ve started (someday). I’ve got some really interesting exhibitions coming up, and I’ve also been invited to paint in New York, Mallorca and Montreal. But first I want to close my door and spend time with my paintings this winter.

As part of Soft? Extra Muros‘ city takeover, Brosinski is on display at PLUS-ONE Gallery until Sautrday 27th October.