08.2018 Printed Matter, Inc. about COMMON SENSE IS A HUNGRY BITCH:
“Common Sense is a Hungry Bitch collects an array of collage work by Chantal Rens, striking and uncanny interventions that challenge what you’re seeing. The warm and weathered quality of the images from mid-century vernacular source material lull the viewer into a certain comfort, the nostalgic tint of Life magazine or a family photo album torn and pasted into jarring contortions of people, animals, and scenery that are swapped amongst themselves, irrevocably mixed-up. Surrounding the collage images are carefully juxtaposed spot colors that enhance this familiar yet uncomfortable tone and bring you deeper into spreads where each image begs a double-take.”
02.2016 Gabriela Cendoya-Bergareche on my new book ‘YOU RUN AROUND TOWN LIKE A FOOL AND YOU THINK THAT IT’S GROOVY’. Read it here and check out her website all about photobooks. Thank you / grasias Gabriela!
Chantal Rens has a healthy appetite for invention. In a manner reminiscent of Hanna Hoch, the sole female member of the Berlin DADA movement, she reuses, arranges, cuts, tears and piles her pictures on top of one another. This results in collages that are illusive, funny, obscene, mysterious, playful and cool. All at the same time. Not only do the images exceed the original meaning, they turn it 180 degrees. The main force of these distortions? Our vague recollection of the indivisible remainder. As with any masquerade, the frustration is in the visual obstruction. We are left with a blind spot but what we get in return is a sublime substitution. A good deal, after all. — Erik Vroons. GUP magazine. publication GUP #26 the vernacular issue. 10/2010. portfolio online
There is a chain of simple similarities that link the works of Chantal Rens (NL), Marjolijn de Wit (NL) and May Snevoll von Krogh (NO) presently on show in the charming Luycks Gallery in Tilburg. De Wit, like Rens, makes collages; Snevoll von Krogh, like De Wit, uses ceramics and Rens, like Snevoll von Krogh, blows substantial holes in an innocent and ideal world that never existed in the first place. Put this way, it may sound as if De Wit has less to say than her colleagues but this is not the case. Her work is equally challenging – it is just less emotionally disturbing.
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The collages of Chantal Rens are made from modest materials: cut-outs from old magazines and unassuming second-hand frames that provide a multi-facetted window on a seriously twisted universe. A few simple gestures, two images combine, and nothing is the same ever again. Suggesting a world where anything is possible, Rens sets a clear-cut limit to the material she uses: there is hardly an image that does not date back at least fifty years. She leaves little room for nostalgia: the distance in time mainly functions as a reminder that nothing was ever perfect and it never will be.
Featuring most prominently in Rens’s work are people: couples, women alone, children (mostly girls) alone, a family photo; never a man alone. Nearly all faces have been cut out or covered. In several works replacing women’s faces and bodies by food makes them appear as dull or delicious meals – their bodies and minds serving only to nurture others. Two ugly baby parrots with wide open beaks are joined by an isolated human mouth. In the one image where a woman is shown free and independent, posing next to a Volkswagen Beetle along a road winding through the Alps, a big red blob falling from the sky is about to crush her and her car.
My favourite collage is probably the one where a sailing ship is replaced by a pudding of sorts, the scissor’s cut from the side of the paper to the boat now a towing line. Not only has a romantic and adventurous means of transportation been transformed into an unattractive looking course that would probably weigh heavy on the stomach, it has also become a burden. “And take this too!” says the title. ‘Too’ pronounced in Dutch sounds like ‘tow’ and to a Dutch speaker ‘too’ sounds like the Dutch word toe which is short fortoetje or dessert – one that I think I’ll better skip.
One by one or taken together, Rens’s works are poignant and direct, even when you can’t easily get a finger behind them. They combine wonderfully with the collages of De Wit, down to the occasional mountain scene, and yet it is the sculptures by May Snevoll von Krogh complementing the work on the walls that make this presentation such a well-balanced exhibition. — Nanne Op ‘t Ende, It’s uh that way … Chantal Rens, Marjolijn de Wit and May Snevoll von Krogh at Luycks Gallery. 2013, Luycks Gallery
Her work revolves around ideas of obstruction, abstraction and collage. In a playful, childlike manner she reconfigures idyllic imagery and known compositions into absurdist scenes. By implementing an almost naïve idea of surrealism she tries to adjust bekisting expectations of an image and its intended meaning. In many of her works she appropriates the aesthetics of nostalgia as a disguise for her very contemporary imagery. Old, kitsch frames and time-worn photographs featuring children and ‘greetings from’-scenery overlap into a illogically satisfying whole. —TORCH gallery. group show Girls rule the world. 01/2013
(…) Her collages all share an unusual, slightly magical, slightly spastic, slightly menacing quality, as if they were put together by a brilliant but mildly distracted 3rd grader with asocial tendencies. This childlike naturalness of style provides a refreshing counterbalance to Rens’ essentially hardcore surrealistic imagery. Every collage seems governed by an unsettling, vaguely shocking, but nevertheless just barely emotionally decipherable dream logic. (…) — Kim Adrian. Food Culture Index. 12/2012
Chantal Rens was born in 1981 in Etten-Leur, the Netherlands. She received a BFA and a Fine Art teaching degree from Academie voor Beeldende Vorming Tilburg, the Netherlands. Rens’ output includes work in textiles, photography, collage, and sculpture among other media. She has exhibited widely in her native Netherlands and was also part of USE ME, ABUSE ME (curator Erik Kessels’ contribution to New York Photo Festival 2010). She has also been published extensively, with her latest artist’s book, BEING in SHAPE, a collector of collages, self-published in 2009. — New York Photo Festival, catalog. PowerHouse Event Productions. 2010. p. 32
CHANTAL RENS alters a familiar imagery into her own reality. — USE ME, ABUSE ME, catalog. KesselsKramer. 05/2010