Sian Bowen and Nova Zembla cover image

Siân Bowen and Nova Zembla

Suspending the Ephemeral

This special edition contextualizes the new body of drawings, artist books and video works made by Siân Bowen over a two-year period working as Guest Artist in Drawing at Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

The Nova Zembla collection of prints, which were carried as merchandise on Willem Barents’ expedition seeking a northern route to China in 1596, had lain frozen, transformed to papier-mâché blocks, in the Arctic for nearly three centuries.

Reconstructed from hundreds of fragments by the Rijksmuseum, the prints provided opportunities for Bowen to develop work which explores the materiality of drawing and the ephemeral nature of museum objects on paper.

Through artworks, accompanying essays, documentary photographs, video stills and texts by the artist, this book traces Bowen’s own ‘journey through the project, emphasizing the tactile qualities of her artworks which at the same time employ light, transparency, perforation, reflection and fragility, and consolidate the often fugitive nature of the materials used in their making.

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