Venus Jasper is a queer visual artist, storyteller, world builder, performative priestess, researcher, educator, writer, and curator, currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Laya Papaya Public Bath

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Photos of the action Laya Papaya Public Bath, at TENT Rotterdam. Taken on the opening, and a day after.

A wooded platform houses a raft of very special ingredients, tools, materials, various oils and clays that point towards a specific process or ritual - the tone of which is extrapolated further by the specific connotations of the objects and materials and a series of small, figurative drawings on the surrounding walls.

Members of the public can approach the artist for a ritualistic body-interaction in which a series of clays wil be taken and mixed from the installation. Together with plants, herbs and oils this mixture is then creatively applied to the bodies of the participants who lie for various durations.

The changes in temperature, the energy channeled by the artist, the tactility of time and motionlessness and the gaze of exhibition onlookers gives the participants an experiential bodily journey while their outlines form living sculptural elements in the gallery.

The installation, right after the performance ended.

The work Laya Papaya Public Bath won the 2013 Piet Zwart Institute Promotion Award, sponsored by the Fleur Groenendijk foundation. From the award report, written by Marnie Slater:

"Jasper’s central search for meaning in our bodily experience is an open one. The jury was struck by Jasper’s willingness to base Laya Papaya Public Bath on a public call for participants and on maintaining that a large part of the performance process, content and duration should be intuitively felt between himself and the body of the participant – pointing toward a creative process often contained only within the walls of an artist’s studio."

“The first mode of the work, the platform, has specific activity written all over it: the bespoke wooden platform houses a raft of very special ingredients, tools, materials, various oils and clays, that point towards a specific process or ritual, the tone of which is extrapolated further by the connotations of the objects and materials, and in a series of small, figurative drawings hung on the surrounding walls. The second mode is a series of performances, which involve Jasper himself, and members of the public, who signed up to join the ritual. The artist then mixes a series of clays from the installation, and applies them, with plants, herbs and oils, to the bodies of participants who lie for various durations. This simple description does not include the subtle role of the host, of care, of decoration, and of an individually tailored experience, crucial components that are central to this work and a guest’s experience."

"Jasper’s work is committed to a consciousness of the body and, concurrently, nurturing the role a contemporary artist could embody as a healer. The jury was impressed by Jasper’s hands-on engagement with the question of the body as a central, but under-nurtured, territory. His choice to expand this exploration via performance, by making use of bystanders, is exciting and bold. Through the ephemerality and unpredictability of interactive performance, Jasper provides an opportunity for unknown outcomes. Because of this, a profound subject is brought to the fore for audiences in a tangible and accessible way.  We understood this engagement as being both urgent in our current context, and, through Jasper’s choices of forms and processes, as indicative of an art practice that shows a clear, confident understanding of Western art historical instances of the artist as performer, persona, shaman, mystic, shapeshifter, healer."

A reproduction of Jean Bourdichon, "The Wild Condition" from Four Conditions of Society, c. 1505–1510.

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Concept & Creation: Venus Jasper
Performance: Venus Jasper

Mo Schalx and White Project
Camera: Margarita Kouvatsou
Intern: Danilo Fernandez

TENT, Materiaalfonds