Central to the artistic practice of Daan Couzijn is the romantic desire for – and the questioning of – authenticity. In this context, the works shown in his presentation at the Rozenstraat depart from the notion of faith as well as mythological and religious iconography. Despite being an atheist, Daan finds himself becoming increasingly curious about religious beliefs and practices, their cultural significance and the solace believers derive from their faith. Although unable to believe in a higher entity from a rational point of view, Daan sees value in engaging in a broad variety of legends, myths and sacred narratives that offer insights and bring about a sense of belonging and fellowship.
Untitled (2023) is a series of relief panels carved from solid oak wood, with which Daan explores the use of religious iconography in contemporary visual culture. Though artisanal in appearance, the reliefs were composed in 3D software, with the use of various computer science technologies. With a combination of organic shapes resembling twisted trees or gnarled branches as well as fragmented geometric shapes and distorted human figures, the relief panels refer to religious and mythological iconography in a concrete yet abstract way. By using elements that allude to the palpable absence of a divine entity, Daan retains the ornamental beauty and symbolism of traditional religious art, without depicting it directly.
Holier Than Thou (2021) draws a connection between a glory hole and a Catholic confessional: in both contexts, an anonymous yet vulnerable surrender towards another is conveyed. The video consists of a theatrical lament performed by a CGI character. The character questions the concept of religion (i.e. Christianity) but in doing so, realises that perhaps that what he criticises could also offer exactly what he longs for. In an attempt to fill an existential void, he professes his devotion to a God whose existence he does not believe in.