'In order not to become a houseplant, I study wild plants. Their survival strategies, growth, and dispersal are a valuable source of inspiration for me. The way in which some plants can grow between tiles, survive on barren soil, or manage to infiltrate beautiful landscaped gardens is truly admirable to me.'
Til, J. van der (2019). Do I understand my garden? Groningen, The Netherlands: Rhizomebook.
Jan van der Til is a Dutch visual artist whose work takes shape in multifaceted ways, often challenging conventional notions of authorship, originality, meaning, and context. He poses critical questions regarding assumptions, automatism, and systemic thinking. These topics are portrayed in a sharp and innovative way to gain insight into how they influence our thoughts and actions. This is sometimes done subtly and contemplatively, and at other times, it occurs radically, ironically, or satirically.
His work is characterized by its hybridity and rhizomatic nature. A rhizome is a type of rootstock that lacks a clear beginning or end. It is a complex network of links and connections that resists centralized control. If a rhizome is fragmented, each piece has the potential to give rise to a new plant. In this sense, the work embodies the rhizome concept, presenting itself as an interconnected network that is constantly evolving and giving birth to new ideas and creations.
In his artistic practice, Jan van der Til utilizes organic principles like growth, self-regulation, and species propagation as foundational elements to construct theoretical frameworks. Through this approach, he seeks to challenge narrow-minded thinking and expand perspectives. His work, which is consistently titled 'Book' followed by a Roman numeral, is displayed in galleries and museums both domestically and internationally.
To reduce his reliance on traditional art institutions Jan van der Til increasingly utilizing the internet and the concept of rhizome theory to exhibit and further develop his work. His goal is to create an alternative space to experience his work and challenge the conventional models of presenting and selling art. He believes that, apart from social media, the internet provides a platform for greater autonomy and accessibility.
Having dedicated significant time, exploration of the realm of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology reveals to Van der Til their limitless potential. He has noticed similarities between the concept of blockchain technology and rhizome theory, particularly in terms of decentralization and power distribution within the network, as well as the idea of growth where new nodes are continuously added as the network expands.