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Presented by Building Bridges Art Exchange and sponsored by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.


Opening Reception Saturday, February 15, 2020, 6pm

We all recognize them: artists desperate for inspiration, writers struggling with a writer’s block, actors narrowly escaping a nervous breakdown just before stepping onto the stage. Harder to find are the artists who are able to work both autonomously and in commission, who answer your emails on time, respect deadlines and, above all, bubbles with ideas and energy. Yani is an artist in the second category. Although he is not sure he would call himself an artist. What exactly is an artist? Or even: what is an artist in times when art and the art market seem to be two different worlds? 


My definition of an artist would be: a creative person who cannot help but create, motivated by an “inner urge”, as Kandinsky expressed it so beautifully. Whether it is a painting or a video, a photograph or a performance: I believe that as long as it comes from the depths of the creator’s soul and triggers some – perhaps undefinable – emotion in the viewer, it can be called art. Where else than in art is there space for the indescribable - sometimes magnificent, sometimes grating - this thing the artist brings into the world, hoping it will find its destination? Where else but in the world of art is there space to think and live outside the box? So let’s cherish them, these real artists, and remind ourselves that they enrich our lives. 


Which brings me to Yani. He is the artist who comes to mind when I think about creativity, passion, work ethic, ideas and originality. Give him a subject and he adjusts it to suit him, give him a camera and he captures things you have never noticed before. His unrivaled ability to visualize and then create situations not only requires talent and knowledge of the subject matter, but also the bravado that speaks from his work. Words like “impossible” are not in his vocabulary and, if anything, only challenge him to keep going and not let go.


Rather than a wolf in sheep’s clothes, he is a pitbull with the appearance and the courtesy of a gentleman. It was only recently that he decided to live as an autonomous artist, but everything he has made and worked on since then is intelligent, of high quality and aesthetically pleasing. For Yani is a man who loves beauty, as long as it’s not too tame or too polished. His works speak loudly and clearly without ever becoming deafening. Because if you look closely, you also see the quiet, subdued side of this artist. He lives life to the full, but in moments of doubt, he withdraws to think, and as soon as he has figured things out, the energy starts flowing again and builds up to tidal waves of unprecedented height.


This series of black-and-white photographs by Yani revolves around man and his struggle with nature, which is stronger than humanity and its centuries of technical and scientific inventions. Too much water extinguishes fire, but without water there can be no life. And Yani has managed to capture this beautifully.  – Manuela Klerkx

Image by Yani

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