CHRISTIAN LARSEN presents Solve et Coagula by Lisa Jeannin & Rolf Schuurmans.
"It all started with a package. Our daughter, Lila, who was at this time 6 months old, recieved a book from her grandfather. Inside the book was a curious letter. The book was a collection of fairy tales about knights and chivalery. A short version of Don Quixote was included in this book but also a story by Paul Féval about a knight called Jeannin. Our daughters grandfather hinted at the possibility that we might be related to this knight and that the story was in fact not a work of fiction. Sometimes fiction is more true than facts the letter ended. We started a journey in search for the knight, but it actually turned out to be more of an inner alchemical journey of discovery”.
/Lisa Jeannin & Rolf Schuurmans
Solve et coagula means to dissolve and merge; it is a Latin maxim in alchemy, whose practical application is named spagyrics.
The theory and practice of alchemy have been misinterpreted throughout the millennia; the vulgar understanding of it had reduced all alchemy to failed production of gold and the elixir of eternal life. The true alchemy has traditionally dealed with careful observations of the transformative processes in all living things; it has sought to follow the common thread that holds together the most diverse manifestations of life from the smallest insect to a visible planet. Alchemy, in both its historical and current form, which is still practiced and developed in many places in the world, is driven by a theory that everything that exists is one, a kind of a unified field theory which is also the basis for the majority of research in the modern physics. In this way, alchemy approaches the contemporary understanding of the nature of the world, and is thus once again relevant today.
Artist Lisa Jeannin, along with her husband and partner Rolf Schuurmans, are some of Sweden's very few trained and dedicated practitioners of the art of spagyrics. They create elixirs, a kind of medicine that is distilled from a variety of minerals, plants and metals, with hundreds of different time variables, in harmony with nature and the visible planets. They break down substances into elements of which they create new substances; the purpose of the elixirs is to evoke the different life forces laying dormant in every human being, to achieve transcendence and evolve.
The same principle, solve et coagula, determines the foundation of Jeannin and Schuurmans’ entire artistic oeuvre. Intuitive storytellers, Jeannin and Schuurmans take different elements from both personal and general history, everyday life, philosophy, religion, psychology and science, and mix an artistic elixir in the form of semi-abstract films, symbolics objects and mysterious performances. They invite the viewer into a world full of mysticism, miracles and humility before all things that we do not yet know, but sometimes can sense. Jeannin and Schuurmans stage a charged encounter with the unknown, and they do it with a vengeance. In the exhibition at the gallery we are faced by a large number of mysterious objects in bronze, presented according to a strict planetaric order; the seven freshly brewed elixirs, and a partially animated feature film, with dark ambient music composed by the artists's daughter Lila. All electrical lighting has been replaced by candles during the entire duration of the show. On the opening night, the artists will perform a ritual during which all consenting visitors may taste and experience the power of the different elixirs.
Lisa Jeannin, born in 1972 in Uppsala, was educated at the Malmö Art Academy. Rolf Schuurmans, born in 1972 in Oss, the Netherlands, studied at the Tilburg Art Academy. The artists live in Hakebo, Småland. Parallell to the exhibition at the gallery, the artists will participate in the group show Collected Works! 30 years with the Maria Bonnier Dahlin Foundation at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm. The artists’ latest public art project, Philosophic Siren, will be unveiled in Helsingborg, Pålsjöbadens Kallbadhus on June 2nd 2016.