Titia Ex is an artist whose ideas are shaped by the experience of space. This means that she rarely produces work you can look at while it is there hanging immobile on the wall. Most of the works by Ex are experienced as they arise in space. You can adopt several standpoints vis-à-vis this work, and view it from various angles, by crossing the spaces in which the artist places her work. You can think what you like about it, because she allows you the space to do this.
Much of the work by Titia Ex is made for the public space, on plazas, on and inside buildings, in the city and the landscape, in traffic, in the midst of infrastructure and gardens, next to houses and offices. The meaning of her work must therefore be sought in the relationships it enters into with the surroundings. The history of that place or specific situation is important, but also the current use of the space, the variable ways of approaching that place. Titia Ex does not select a pre-existing work from her oeuvre for these public situations, but seeks out the exigency of imbuing these spaces with a special significance. She creates a new work to achieve this.
Her style is personal and as such it is distinctive. Applying a coherent and intrinsic methodology, she employs a clear and legible visual idiom. She might, for example, use a figurative interplay of lines in neon light. This means she immediately has to overcome something in the minds of viewers, who think they are familiar with the significance of her use of materials. Neon light is used for advertising in the entertainment industry, sometimes fairly dubious in character. Titia Ex does not immediately want to nullify the attraction of this in some politically correct manner. She sooner exploits that association to create an initial uncertainty, so that her work will be looked at critically. This results in the discovery that something else is intended, something more than a straightforward image with a simple message.
Viewed from a greater distance her work looks two-dimensional. That perception is soon undermined, however, because the lines in her work often consist of shimmering light. In close-up, these lines can also be diffracted three-dimensionally, and take on a different guise. The work moves around the viewer, it has a front and a rear, sometimes dissolving in a side-view and reappearing once you have passed it by. Two- and three-dimensional manifestations alternate. The agile and playful visual idiom employed by Ex is captivating and simultaneously slightly disturbing. After all, a light beacon in the distance is usually also a warning, a signal. Watch out for what you are about to encounter.
Her oeuvre now encompasses dozens of monumental works. It is difficult to gain a coherent overview, because these works stand dispersed at numerous locations across the Netherlands. This website is probably the most suitable way to provide an overview, bringing together several works in documentary form. However, it is primarily something to experience and perceive. Despite the usually straightforward vocabulary, in her work you find yourself in a visual maze of visual associations. There is no escape: it disappears in front of your eyes, because you no longer need an exit. It is a rich idiom. You play a film in your mind’s eye, making a montage of the images provided by Titia Ex that results in a coherent narrative for you personally. Anyone who sees the work of Ex can make sense of it for themselves by looking actively. Experience the work and be absorbed into its domain, its atmosphere.
You do not need to agree with a work of art in order to appreciate it. Titia Ex expresses how different standpoints are related. This work of art in Culemborg encapsulates her simple metaphor in the form of a dialogue:
- Do you like my hat?
- Well, not really.
- See you.
- See you.
There is no need to be at each other’s throat simply because you hold different opinions. You can accept each other as you are.
Alex de Vries