Blade of Grass with a Lot of Energy, 2004. Painted steel and neon, 2,400 cm. high. Photo: Thea van den Heuvel.

Jan van Munster: Sculpture as Energetic Process

When faced with “difficult,” non-objective art, viewers most commonly want to know what the artist was thinking while making the work. Only rarely has an artist so openly documented his thoughts as Jan van Munster has with his Brainwaves. Making his thought activity visible is precisely the theme of these light objects. In 1997 van Munster sought out a specialist to record his brain activity in an electro-encephalogram (EEG). The results of this examination, jokingly referred to by van Munster as his “bible,” have been serving him ever since as a sketch and pattern book for his Brainwave works. van Munster is wholly convinced that the “bible” contains enough ideas to last “the next hundred years.”1 He uses the technically produced graphic portrayal of his own brain activity for artistic material: he selects short, individual intervals from the multitude of wave patterns, enlarges them in the form of colored fluorescent tubes, and lights them up.

Translated by Elizabeth Volk.