Interview with Jan Robert Leegte on CONT3XT.NET

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Jan Robert Leegte, Scrollbar, 2002

Contemporary media art collective CONT3XT.NET posted an interview with Amsterdam-based artist Jan Robert Leegte. Leegte discusses his practice, and how his physical sculptural works engage the virtual. See the introduction below, full interview here.

Between reality and illusion, between abstraction and the ornament, between the virtual and the real, between architecture and art - the main focus in Jan Robert Leegte’s artworks are the spaces inbetween. The Amsterdam-based artist continuously deconstructs the experience of architecture and sculpture by questioning the perception of space and material which is alternately brought into relation to the real as well as to the digital space. Since the mid-1990s the academically trained sculptor and architect works on the transfer of digital media into expanded installative arrangements. Very early he started exploring the multifaceted formal possibilities of the Internet-browser for its sculptural feature: buttons, scrollbars and table borders were used for real space installations which had the same quality as his previous studio and computer work. The elements of the browser appear to have a striking physical reality mostly gained by the large public daily use, interactivity, animation and especially the three-dimensional extrusion.

The experience-based way of testing physical reality defines the choice of material in his installations and Internet-based work, which has often been said to have late-modernistic tendencies. Ultimately he develops so called single-serving-sites, which are defined as “web sites comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing.” In Blue Monochrome .com (2008) for example Jan Robert Leegte makes use of the tools of Google-Earth to transform satellite images of the globe’s water surface into ready-mades. Geographic coordinates are linked to the coordinates of a website, the real space is linked to the virtual; the title of the artwork represents on a linguistic level, what can be seen on the screen image: a granulated blue surface with minimal elevations, which can immediately be associated with thick acrylic on canvas and finally with its predecessors in art history. In the following interview Leegte explains how the Internet can be seen as a space and why the artist is still fascinated by the “new medium.”