The words Asbestos the Magic Mineral adorned the facade of the Johns-Manville pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. At the time, this phrase stood for the promise of a material that would bring prosperity and security to us all. Asbestos was welcomed as if it were gold. Now, more than 80 years later, the mineral is no longer so magical: asbestos appears to be the dormant death in our midst.
In the exhibition Asbestos the Magic Mineral, Anne-Jan Reijn opens the doors of his asbestos temple. The asbestos minerals that Reijn himself retrieved from a mine in northern Italy raise questions about the thin line between safety and the danger we expose ourselves to. Today, clean air without harmful viruses and deadly dust particles cannot be taken for granted: at any moment you can come into contact with invisible risks. How do you arm yourself against that which you cannot see? Reijn catches the danger between layers of plastic, glass and concrete and thus marks the threat; finally it is possible to look the enemy back in the eye.
Anne-Jan Reijn (1983, Amsterdam) completed his Masters at the ArtScience faculty of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Reijn’s work deals with the perception of danger and plays with the spectator’s expectations and comfort. Balancing between conceptual art and performative installations, Reijn’s work places the audience in a direct confrontation with risks, fictional or otherwise.
Asbestos the Magic Mineral
Solo exhibition Anne-Jan Reijn
12 September – 22 October, 2021