First major monograph on this American-born, Bali-based painter and former professional dancer.
Lydia Janssen was born in 1976 in Lansing, Michigan, and received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1998. After graduating, she moved to New York City to pursue a professional dance career on a scholarship at the Merce Cunningham Studio School, performing with modern dance troupes Pam Tanowitz Dance Company and Jordana Toback/POON Dance Company.
Her dancing career ended after suffering several injuries, leading her to focus fully on her art practice. She spent a year at the Graduate Fine Arts Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, before returning to New York to study at the Art Students League (2005-07) with Larry Poons and Ronnie Landfield, where she won the prestigious Red Dot Award for Excellence in Painting.
This book surveys the emotional landscape of Lydia Janssen’s relationship to her art, as she attempts to paint movement and to move with paint. The viewer’s kinaesthetic reaction is as significant as their visual response. Although her work is an autonomous, autobiographical journey, it is also like dancing with and on the canvas. The fundamental inspiration for Janssen’s art practice lies in the ineffability of dance as an art form: its drama, spectacle, and the tragedy of the body falling victim to its physical and emotional demands, as well as its pleasures. Janssen’s lively geometry and muted colours, make for edgy narratives on the fragility of the human body, survival after trauma, personal freedom, violence, intimacy, the symbolism of animals, and the erotic experience.
Lydia Janssen has held solo exhibitions in Asia and the USA, including most recently at the Redsea Gallery in Singapore and the Susan Eley Fine Art Gallery in New York. Her work can be found in private collections in the US, UK and Asia.