Willem Jan Smit is a visual artist who was born in the Netherlands (1984). He received his BFA at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada in 2013 and has exhibited internationally since.
Willem works primarily between sculpture and painting but is fervently adhering to installation art where he conjoins his conceptually informed practice with a more phenomenological experience of space. His works are context-based, thus they are tailored to the specific location of their exhibition, but also relate to global issues. His work is increasingly geared towards scenography, contemporary philosophy, theatre and film, queer histories (and queer necropolitics), and injustice towards minorities altogether.
More details about the artist and his contact details can be found on his website https://willemjansmit.com/
Parrhesia: Candour, frankness; outspokenness or boldness of speech. Also: the act or practice of asking forgiveness in advance for speaking in this way (Speaking truth to power).
“JOCASTA: That's a slave's life-to be forbidden to speak one's mind.
POLYNEICES: One has to endure the idiocy of those who rule.
JOCASTA: To join fools in their foolishness-that makes one sick. […] if you are not a regular citizen in the city, if you are exiled, then you cannot use parrhesia. That is quite obvious. But something else is also implied, viz., that if you do not have the right of free speech, you are unable to exercise any kind of power, and thus you are in the same situation as a slave.” Michel Foucault, Fearless Speech, p.29
Willem's 2018 exhibition "Parrhesia" at Melina Mercouri focuses on confined sexualities from the untold histories of late, and long ago. It is a reminder that queer people are not a contemporary construct and by collectively remembering this he intends to obliterate the much-heard reamark that "people must still get used to it”, in his opinion the public has not only had ample time to “get used to it”, in fact, he argues that “homophobia is an unnatural construct that is not witnessed in any other species on the planet”.
Talking points for the exhibition are; the oppressive myths upholding heteronormative behavioural patterns, unspeakable acts, state violence and a restriction of the rights of minorities, and the effects of legislation on everyday speech. His practice is inspired by the writings of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Susan Sontag, et. al.
All works are made specifically for this space and have not been exhibited before.
The exhibition will be open daily between 10.00 and 15.00 and again from 19.00 - 23.00hrs.