Anna Lise Jensen: Harbor Library
July 8-31, 2022
Harbor Library is a condensed version of the library in my Bay Ridge art studio and its shelves are a reflection of my need for domestic solitude, aesthetic pleasures and activist urges. The books are bound in an abstract QRC pattern I made during the global Covid pandemic – based on a downloaded QRC that links to my petition to get a bike/pedestrian path on the Verrazzano Bridge in New York’s Lower Bay.
Inside the QRC covers are books on plants and landscapes by others (from Pierre-Joseph Redoutè’s Roses to Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates to Faulkner’s Mississippi with photos by William Eggleston) as well as my own books on various art projects that include DIY User Manuals. I have also included The Questions We Ask Together, published by Open Engagement, for which I wrote an essay.
The books intermingle with my artworks that also focus on plants and landscapes. The plant collages include parts of photographs I made as Artist in Residence for Ross Barkan’s campaign office when he ran for State Senate in 2018.
Plant Library, the first iteration of my library, was shown as part of a group exhibition, Plant Based, I co-organized and curated at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Bridgehampton in February of 2022.
As an artist, my biggest challenge has been to balance my needs for solitude and aesthetic pleasures with a drive for environmental action and political change in an increasingly polarized world of inequality. I live in a swing district (SW Brooklyn/Staten Island) and my work merges art making with project based actions: organizing gatherings and sharing versus compartmentalizing. I often research and approach the people with whom I am interested in working and subsequently find ways to turn my activism into prints and objects that have a visual presence in their own right – that then come to serve as installations/environments for further events, gatherings and community building.