Gryanne Stunnenberg – This is not art, it’s therapy – mixed media – 2018-ongoing

Series ´This is not art, it’s therapy.´ 2018 – 2019
Print and oil on canvas. 20×20 cm.


1 ‘This is not art, it’s therapy – Black jeans’ video essay.

2 ‘This is not art, it’s therapy – The ground on which I walk’ video essay.

3 ‘This is not art, it’s therapy – The Artist’s Journal’ video essay.


This is not art, it’s therapy (2018-ongoing) – mixed media

The starting point for each work in this series is a photo sent to me by WhatsApp or an old photo found somewhere in my digital archive. All of these images show something personal and usually, they are related to the pain of absence. I modify the images in an app on the IPad, making it a game to just see these pictures as a composition, again looking for lines and color blocks. This is in line with the wish to create distance from emotional responses by simply focusing on the present elements that make up an image. Furthermore, receiving photos on the phone is a strange phenomenon to itself. Someone stepped out of the moment to create distance to take a photo, concentrated on sending that photo and was in that way not a true part of what was being photographed. The
one on the other end, the receiver, was entangled in another moment and got snapped out of that one to be thrown into a moment somewhere else belonging to another without ever being able to take part in it because the moment is gone when the message is received. The impact of the received material, however, can have a longer-lasting effect on the receiver than on the sender. There is no need to explain what the original photo is about; the hint that it is something related to my personal life is enough for the viewer, in combination with this playful way of layering compositional additions over the
photos. These new creations are printed on canvas. The photos were never made to be printed in this way. Their quality proves that. Most printing companies don’t print such a low-resolution image, but the HEMA in the Netherlands does. I have them printed as squares, which is a reflection on how our way of looking at composition changed with the use of for example Instagram. When I was still on art academy I was told that painting on a square canvas is compositionally more challenging. However, we got more and more used to seeing square compositions over time and many of us create them on a daily base. My aunt picks the photos up when they are ready and when I go to visit her, or when she comes to visit me, I receive them. The oil paint is chosen to match the IPad drawing program perfectly and I lay the last hand on them by painting the overlaying composition. The value of art is being challenged in the choice of material, as oil painting is considered more valuable than a print. This does not make me a painter.

I’m in an ongoing process of creating video essays with the same title that are uploaded on YouTube. The title ‘This is not art, it’s therapy’ is chosen because of the more personal side of these works and because I consider living in general to be therapy. Every emotional response is a physical reaction that is tried to be understood, explained and sometimes put into words. Some responses are excepted, some are not. This depends on the collective you take part in. Your personal boundaries change and so do the boundaries of the other(s). There is a constant recalibration in between what is happening inside of you and how you express and value this, and whoever receives this information. In every aspect of life, this is the case. In art, it is more obvious and art gives us the
playroom to openly discuss these things. But most importantly, I consider the making of art of vital necessity and very healing. This does not make me a patient.