Showcase: Jan van Schaik
Erin Irwin takes a closer look at these outstanding works.
The work: Jan van Schaik, Lost Tablet Bernice. Reconfigured Lego, 19 x 24.5 x 8cm. Photo by Peter Bennetts. Courtesy: the artist.
In a practice that draws deeply from his work as an architect and an educator, artist Jan van Schaik seeks to craft an artistic language using componentry of the construction industry. In his Lost Tablets series, van Schaik translates the form of the otherwise prosaic Lego block into an object that transcends its material. “They are experiments in the potential of the geometrical languages of architecture to transform everyday objects into monuments of meaning,” he says. Lost Tablet Bernice is a bright orange arrangement, where colour creates form. The name Bernice comes from a ghost ship, the SS Bernice, featured in the Dr Who episode Carnival of Monsters, which finds its narrative roots in the real-life mystery of the Mary Celeste. In referencing both fictional and real-life lost ships, whose crews mysteriously disappear without a trace, the artist navigates the unknown and delves into the mystery of the human condition. Through a thoroughly considered art practice, van Schaik successfully interrogates elevated questions concerning the human condition through the use of ostensibly mundane media.