Critics’ Picks

View of “Ann Veronica Janssens,” 2015.


Ann Veronica Janssens

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road
October 15–January 3

Yellow, blue, pink: The three colors, projected from somewhere above, fade and bleed into one another as you move through them. However, you are only aware of what color you are several seconds after the fact—there is a delay between your arrival in one state and that knowledge hitting your brain, disoriented as you are by everything else that is happening to you perceptually as you wander through the mist, the fog . . .

Ann Veronica Janssens’s yellowbluepink, 2015, is the name of this thing you’re walking through. It consists of mist and light, contained within an airtight room. You have to enter through a door and shut it tightly behind you, to make sure the mist doesn’t escape. Once you’re inside, the mist is so thick that you can’t see two feet in front of you; look down to make sure you are still there. Move slowly through the space; be careful you don’t bump into anyone (though usually others’ voices warn you of their presence). This experiment in disorientation allows you to focus on pure perception. The longer you stay and move through the space, the more disoriented you become. You might think you are near the single entrance/exit door but then hit a wall on the opposite side of the room. It’s fun to go there, to stay a while, to experience, at least for a moment, the sensation of total detachment from all contexts, the wondrous potentialities of being alone with pure vision and nothing else to impel you further.