Jenny Nijenhuis explores identity archetypes through sculpture
Posted on February 22, 2018.
Ignoramus (The Fool)
South African artist Jenny Nijenhuis uses her sculpture to explore identity archetypes, how they are developed through society and how we come to an understanding of "who I am".
An archetype is a collectively integrated symbol, expression, or way of behaving, a pattern upon which others are modelled. Inspired by psychoanalyst Carl Jung, Nijenhuis looks at the human psyche as a personal unconscious (relating to your own life) and a collective unconscious (comprising symbols which are shared by all humanity).
Nijenhuis works in sculpture, photography and installation art. In 2016, she worked with Nondumiso Msimanga and Tanya Pampalone to create an installation of 3 600 pieces of underwear on washing lines across the streets of Maboneng, Johannesburg, in response to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa.
"At any given time, each of us is likely to be operating under at least one of the archetypal patterns of behaviour," syas Nijenhuis, "a character carefully put on for the known behavioural outcome. When the conscious mind chooses to ignore these archetypal behaviour patterns we become caught in the belief that we are what we are merely experiencing - this provides a skewed sense of identity."