Tuerlinckx, Joëlle (1958)
Brussels, Belgium
works and lives in Brussels, Belgium

Joëlle Tuerlinckx stepped into the spotlight in the early nineties with exhibitions which approached the concept ‘exhibition’ explicitly. As she confirmed with her participation in Documenta 11 in Kassel (2002), her expressive vocabulary consists first and foremost of the primary basic material essential to twenty-first-century art: line, vehicle, colour, volumes in a space, a projection onto a wall. Her use of colour is intensive but anti-expressive, like something ready-made. The graphic creations vary from high-tech (as with carefully thought out computer-aided lighting effects) to minimal technology (putting a mark where the head of a nail throws a shadow onto a sheet of paper).

Tuerlinckx's work presents a sampling of the ‘constructional signals’ produced by the (western) art tradition. Her interest is not so much in the objective, material qualities of those ‘signals’ and ‘materials’ but in their effectiveness, the way in which they focus on, delineate, indicate ‘something’, in short: make it visible. This is the reason why she is always interested in the margin around the exhibit. She expands that specific attention to all aspects of the art and exhibition enterprise: lighting, opening times, use of colour or the recording of facts in the catalogue. In this way she throws light on her own activity of observation and recording and that of the exhibition visitor, including an infinite series of books - the ‘B.O.O.K.’ collection - in which she endeavours to draw up a sample sheet of all her strategies. Each component of the exhibition machinery is scrutinized: the addition of labels, the ordering in literary or arithmetical series, storing of correspondence, taking photos and documenting and commenting on her work in all manner of ways. She develops an unceasing activity, constantly starting once more from scratch - or, as in her vocabulary, from ‘a’ - a reviewing, descriptive and indexing occupation. Whilst arranging, recording, checking or documenting she focuses attention on the arranging, recording or documenting itself. In that unrelenting labour her passionate association with ‘the art machine’ is total.