LAZNIA 2 2015 - Sarah Westphal
Sarah Westphal
Zwischendenräumen − Tussenderuimtes – Inbetweenspaces
Limited-edition picture book, 2007–09
26.5 x 20 cm, with fold-out pages
Black cat vanishing
Research visit: January 2015
Implementation visit: March 2015
Curators: Agnieszka Kulazińska, Aleksandra Księżopolska, Marjoleine Maes
In her multidisciplinary work, Sarah Westphal explores the relationships between people, objects and their surroundings. A key part of this investigation focuses on how qualities of place and architecture contribute to our human experience, answering such questions as how a location influences us physically and psychologically. How do we perceive the world around us? How does a space refer to its former inhabitants? What does an object tell us about its users? What impressions are left and what stories can be read from the layered history of surfaces and imprints or the corporeality of space?
Taking as its starting point images of the work Heimsuchen /The House (2007–08), the architectural picture book Zwischendenräumen − Tussenderuimtes − Inbetweenspaces is a photographically layered and folded labyrinth that suggests the feeling of rooms. By browsing through the book, the viewer moves from one room to another, and metaphorically touches the walls covered with old wallpaper. By unfolding pages, he opens doors as a ‘visitor’ to the different rooms that reveal themselves. In this way, the book becomes a mental space, a mental architecture in which stories can be experienced. A book can be read as a house, and a house can be read as a book. 

Through an archaeological investigation, in Heimsuchen /The House (2007–08), the layers of the house’s history were revealed or, on the contrary, concealed, camouflaged and reconstructed by digging into walls, floors and ceilings. Layers of wallpaper had been scraped off, cut off and carved into. Surfaces were varnished or prepared with dust. Holes left by former fireplaces were stuffed with material; such elements as electrical sockets are replicated and reinstalled. Thick carpets were shaved and hair was felted into them. A cake was made, based on the decorative elements of the interior. Some of the more subtle interventions were only visible from a specific perspective, or became less visible the longer the visitor stayed in the space.
In addition, Sarah Westphal created  a site-specific installation titled “Black cat vanishing” hidden in the premises of CCA Łaźnia as part of Meanwile … the city project. This work plays with the notion of exploring the unknown. It balances between opposite meanings like the inner and the outer, the visible and invisible, light and dark. “Black cat vanishing” faces puzzles without a clear solution.
 Sarah Westphal’s residency took place in the frames of the Flanders Week 2015.
Sarah Westphal lives and works in Belgium and Germany. Westphal graduated from the Higher Institute for Fine Arts (Hiske) in 2009, Ghent, Photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2008. In 2007 she received Master of Fine Arts degree, 3D / Multimedia, Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), Ghent. In 2007 she was nominated for the award Provinciale Prijs Beeldende Kunst Oost-Vlaanderen, Caermersklooster, Ghent, winner of Input / Output award, Bruges. Artistic residence at the Be-Part: Platform for Contemporary Art, Waregem in 2011. Solo exhibitions: Timpano, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne and Allure Craquelure, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp in 2013, TAXIDERMIE, Galerie Zink Berlin 2012, Gehirn, Gestirn, Gestein Rossi Contemporary, Brussels, Palimpsest, Ghent. Group exhibitions: among others, Tussenwereld, Crematoria of Sint-Niklaas and Lochchristi (BE) in 2014, Saint-Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent, Provinciale Prijs Beeldende Kunst Oost-Vlaanderen, Caermersklooster, Ghent, Tapisserie Papier Peint? Un Art Contemporain, Musee de la Tapisserie, Doornik (BE), Be-Part: Platform for Contemporary Art, Waregem (BE) in 2012. La Conquête de l'Espace, Higher Institute for Fine Arts (HISK), Ghent in 2009 , Coming People, SMAK, Ghent in 2007.

Municipal Institution of Culture