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Photo Basel, Berlin
September 2020
Rabin Huissen (NL)

Curated by Marth von Loeben 

Life In Fragments

Rabin Huissen's works origin from meticulous rituals that intend to materialize memories. The begins an artwork by following an instructed script he sets for himself and the guests that are invited to collaborate. The scripts work as a structural frame- he is the initiator performer and invites others to join the performance. The script sets up a situation incentivizing human contact in a natural condition. The evolution of the performance can lead to a diverse array of results- such as small human scale blueprints, letters, or postcards.


The blueprints are evidence of intimate body experiences, which reflect unique personal experiences behind the routinary human lifestyle. The artist focuses on preserving and safeguarding the spontaneous energy of the moment in an object while blending this with his personal life experiences.

He inscribes the messages or experiences on paper, previously prepared with photo emulsion which reacts to light. Time is the invisible agent that allows for the reaction to take place and finally, the instant is registered. Natural conditions such as the sun, wind, temperature, sand, dust and water interfere with the process. These conserved moments are then collected and archived in boxes, as a closure of the process. However, this closure is temporary, as they are later on brought to the white box context, claiming the gallery’s function of preserving but also displaying history. The boxes are exhibited in cabinets and on tables, as tridimensional timelines, varying in its dimensions, although the material is always the same, presented as a physical landscape of a memory database: a representation of time under the fragments of memories.


The work carefully articulates a relationship between private and public: keeping and sharing secrets. The white boxes that lay in a cabinet or on a table, waiting to be opened, until the work is finally activated by the viewer, present themselves as a gift that has been prepared by the artist under the form of a secret. Or in his letters and postcards, where the artist asks for a favour which conveys a relation with the other, built upon levels of care and trust. This favour is a set of instructions to be followed by the other, which were thought through based on the person's personality and relation with the artist. By following the instructions, the other person is finalizing the work without being conscious of it.


Huissen's work comes from a conceptual basis, very precise in defining its parameters and also in terms of material and composition - where each part of the work is designed and made by himself - which makes it very unique. Yet, they are also very physical and organic, they map inner feelings and reveal physical reactions through an echo of abstractions. His work is based on the idea that memories are obsolete unless they are mediated by humans and interfered by external conditions, thus bringing the memory into life.

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