Bortolami’s Artist/City initiative announces Ann Veronica Janssens’s en plein air project across the city of Baltimore

June 26, 2020

Bortolami announces the commencement of a sprawling, ongoing project by Ann Veronica Janssens in Baltimore, Maryland, the fifth of the gallery’s Artist/City programming initiative. Whereas previous Artist/City projects have taken place in (albeit atypical) exhibition spaces, Janssens’s project exists en plein air, across the city of Baltimore.

Coinciding with the artist’s exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, featuring one of her iconic Fog Star works installed in the museum’s Neoclassical Spring House directly adjacent to the main museum building, Janssens will mount approximately 20 Silver Screens on the facades of theaters and cinemas across the city in the coming months. At a range of different sizes—but always in the proportion of classic widescreen film—these Silver Screens refer to the impressive history of theaters and cinemas unique to Baltimore. Between 1900 and 1970, the city constructed a total of 235 theaters, far more than in most American cities. Some of these theaters are still open, others closed, and still others repurposed.

Janssens was drawn to the architectural typology of theaters and specifically cinemas in Baltimore for their symbolic value—at a fundamental level these buildings were conceived to perform just as her work does: transforming light into content. At the core of Janssens’s practice is a keen interest in light’s ability to dramatically alter one’s perception and experience. Coated in aluminum leaf, these Silver Screens also refer to Baltimore’s history in the silver industry.

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