Sanne Vaassen: Surplus to Purpose

1 Aug 2019 – 10 Aug 2019

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Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop

England, United Kingdom


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  • 295
  • Latimer Road or Shepherds Bush
  • Shepherds Bush
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Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is proud to present Surplus to Purpose, the solo residency exhibition by our artist in residence Sanne Vaassen, who has been working in the studio space above the gallery from May to July 2019.


Sanne Vaassen has an instinctive, observational response relationship to the human condition and rarely accepts things at their face value, part sociologist part botanist, part poet, part sculptor all depends upon the nature of her gaze. Sanne sees the world through a lens that desires a type of simplicity that exists in nature, in flowers, that is unencumbered. By deconstructing social systems, political speeches & symbols, currencies, as well as social structures Sanne’s body of work transforms each object of focus beyond its purpose and importantly disempowers them, redefining and transforming. Flowers speak, public gardens write poetry, military rifle exercises become sculpture, currencies become films.

This is a territory of systems and their by-products that are manipulated and altered to shift perception and to nullify - a secondhand military blanket becomes the cradle for a sculpture of glass formed by the mimed movements of the military rifle excises. This is the world Sanne wants to inhabit - the grim become cuddly, the harsh soft, the reversal of weight to lightness. For Sanne, so much of modern societies systems are surplus to purpose and therefore she engenders a humorous reinterpretation, the absurdity of colourful paper being our most powerful method of exchange is ‘laughed at’ by shredding money and creating a film. This is an artist whose body of work is a breath of fresh air, or perhaps a reinvented scent, lifting the heaviness of our time and reminding us of our peculiar animal humanness.

Sanne Vaassen (Maastricht, NL, 1991) graduated in 2013 from Maastricht Academy Fine Arts & Design and was a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academy in 2014/2015. Since then she has contributed to exhibitions at the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Marres, De Pont, Tilburg, Grey Noise, Dubai and 601 Artspace in New York, amongst others. She was nominated for the Sybren Hellinga prize in 2016 and was the winner of the Parkstad Limburg Prize in the same year. She lives and works in Maastricht, NL.

About Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop and the Workshop Foundation:

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is Workshop Foundation’s exhibition and residency space in London. It supports a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, championing principles of integrity and rigour. Through its residency programmes and exhibitions, it gives artists, curators and theorists a platform to present work and share ideas as well as creating an environment for freethinking and exchange.

The Foundation seeks to progress artists’ careers and connect them to the public. It has now organised more than 25 exhibitions with over 100 artists and curators.

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop was founded in 2015 by artist Stacie McCormick in a former builder’s merchant.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Sanne Vaassen


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