Of a deafening brightness
Wandering through Lotte Geeven’s Hotel Insomnia

Who can really distinguish between the sea and what's reflected in it? Or tell the difference between the falling rain and loneliness?
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart, 1999

A coloured surface leans against the wall. A strip of green merges into a strip of pink, which subsequently merges into a strip of pale yellow. The colours are aqueous, transparent, yet extremely bright. Right next to it, we find a palm leaf in a remarkable powder-like grey colour.
Photographs show a wildwood by night. Strip lights, hanging in the bushes, provide the only perceptible light.
In a small room, which can only be observed through an immense window – as if looking through a shop window – we view a bunch of flowers: in a grey bucket; on a grey chair. Right next to it, we find a stand holding three stage lights. A part of the white flowers is illuminated in red/pink, and almost seem to break loose from the room.
These are only a few snippets that float to the surface when reflecting on Lotte Geeven’s work. They form parts of larger installations that could easily fill a room. Once observed, they do not let you go, and settle into your mind. Like a personal memory.
The objects, images, drawings, photographs and installations are all crea- ted from, as Geeven calls it, stage-managed straying. She wanders around in pla- ces that are unfamiliar to her: an unknown city, an unobserved landscape. In these unfamiliar places, gradually she becomes part of her environment, absorbing impressions. This could be an image, or something she finds by the side of the road, but also a scent, a colour, a particular incidence of light, a sound or a fragment of a story. Meticulously, she takes note of what she considers important. Using an intuitive process, she simultaneously trans- forms her observations into images.
In due time, everything in a city will be connected. The city centre conver- ges with a suburb, a city park with a roundabout, a house with its adjacency. The city as a whole is an entity, an organism. Lotte Geeven’s installations provide a personal blueprint of such an unfamiliar city and yet again, these blueprints demonstrate interconnection.
In a mysterious way, all objects and subjects continuously communicate with each other. The works tell stories, but do not readily divulge their obvi- ous meaning. Like a receded memory. Or a forgotten scent.
Whereas the works cannot be interpreted directly, they simultaneously offer a deafening brightness.
Everything is precisely how it should be: a colour, a shape, the way the rooms have been structured, the way the installations have been construc- ted. The proportions between objects, shapes and colours always tally with great precision. Due to this accurate precision, the installations are comple- tely plausible, despite the fact that their exact meaning cannot readily be unravelled.
As Geeven has used all her senses when making observations, her images seem to appeal to all the observer’s senses too. A drawing evokes a certain scent; a photograph excites the sensation of blistering heat; an object sug- gests dusty dryness.
Geeven has been straying through the city, and thus provides the observer with her work to stroll through. But above all, this is a mental space to wander in; a room in which memories and stories, scents and colours, sounds and images, merge fleetingly and solidify in the space. A synesthetic journey. Ultimately, to provide some grounding, she builds Hotel Insomnia. A build- ing in which all the rooms she has occupied and will occupy, all her works and installations, will find their ultimate locus. In which all the journeys and explored areas will be captured. A hiding place in which her oeuvre can unfold, 24 hours a day, available all through the year. But above all, it is a place in which we can wander about, from work to work, from room to room. Everything is interconnected. Wandering about in Hotel Imsomnia is like getting lost and coming home at the same time.
For the artist, as well as for the observer.

Martijn Lucas Smit, January 2012