International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
News Archive
Micro Talks
Cankarjev Dom
M1 & M2
Joost Conijn
  *1971, lives in Tilburg and Amsterdam

Airplane, 2000, video film, 28 min

Ever since his childhood, Joost Conijn has been travelling the world. He never misses a chance to go somewhere. What fascinates him in his travels is the meaning of transportation and situations that travelling leaves imprinted on his mind. When he was 20, he reached as far as India by bicycle, and two years ago he got his flying licence. And this is in fact the point of departure for the work he presents at Manifesta 3. It starts with an uncontrollable urge to fly. He produces concrete objects, mostly made of metal, and most of which are functional. He uses iron, motorcycles and bicycles as literal extensions of his body, and video as the narrative extension of his appearance. He is constantly asking himself where the human body ends and where the machine begins. His work is centred on the elements common to man and machine, as well as on relations between society and art. At the same time, he investigates the frontiers that go beyond mental and cultural tenets. He is primarily interested in experimentation and risk-taking and in the realisation of impossible projects, particularly those projects which are considered unfeasible by most people. His plans are always brief and simple, formulated with a few words. The realisation of these projects means months of work and learning experiences involving the most diverse events and challenges. He uses the objects and opportunities that are offered to him in his project. He comes to situations with the broadest of horizons, so that both the work process and the final result are revealed without any great complications. In 1999 Joost Conijn was building an aircraft. He exhibited it on the roof of De Fabriek in Eindhoven. The true meaning of the aircraft is not in its artistic value, but rather, in its functionality, as the aircraft was built with the performance of its primary function in mind - namely, flying. The artist scheduled its maiden flight for late 1999 in the middle of a Moroccan desert. The desert as a space excites him particularly, due to its vast landscape, the infinite space and total boundlessness. And the desert is also a space where there is nothing - no houses and no rules. The Sahara was thus the closest space for unhindered testing of the aircraft. The entire process from design, its installation on the rooftop of De Fabriek, testing of its functions, the transport - including all the vicissitudes of travel to and across the Sahara - and finally the first flight tests were recorded by the artist on film.

Address: Manifesta 3, Cankarjev Dom, Prešernova 10, SI - 1000 Ljubljana. Slovenia
phone: (+386 61) 1767143, 210956 fax: (+386 61) 217431 e-mail: