Document Performance | Permanence

Solo Exhibition by Jan Robert Leegte

10 December – 21 January 2023 | Wed - Sat 3-7pm | OPENING: Saturday, 10th of Dezember 2022 from 19:00 ~ 22:00

About the exhibition

The exhibition showcases works from the series Repositions, 2018, and an NFT from the collection Window, 2022. Both are made in HTML DOM, the standard document format of the web.

The Repositions works are investigations into the fundamental performative nature of software. Instead of taking the web document as a page to display static content; text, images, gifs, video, etc. the works have the document itself perform and can be read as document performances. Referencing Bruce Nauman’s canonical “Wall-Floor Positions” from 1968, the works have the document take new positions in relation to the viewer and the browser’s window frame. Using random algorithms, the documents are infinitely striking new poses. The webpage, what was the main canvas, medium for netart, becomes the object itself. Nowadays, after the website has lost its dominant place to mobile apps, with the introduction of works hosted on the IPFS, we can feel a bit of a renaissance of art made in HTML DOM. The Reposition is a series of performances of different documents. At they will alternate daily. Opening on the 10th December will be the default white document. Following will be hyperlink blue, default text black, historical document color silver. Looping till the end of the exhibition.

In contrast to all this performativity, Window doubles down on what it is to be web-based sculpture. The mid grey chiseled computer interfaces of 1997 are reminiscent of sculptures created in bas-relief, a technique going back to the stone carved petroglyphs that is as ancient as humankind's first steps in making art. The combination of illusion and tactility found in these interfaces shows our longing to have the computer experience to be part of the material world. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the programming language of Ethereum is named 'Solidity'. The blockchain is software, yet it behaves and feels like hardware. Window #219 is one of 404 compositions that has been generated from Window's script. Each is a fully interactive HTML-DOM sculpture.

curated by sakrowski collection - Window #219 on display.


Jan Robert Leegte (born 1973, The Netherlands) is one of the first Dutch artists to work on and for the Internet since the 1990s. In 2002, he shifted his main focus to implementing digital materials in the context of the physical gallery space, aiming to bridge the online art world with the gallery art world, making prints, sculpture, installations, drawings, and projections, connecting to historical movements like land art, minimalism, performance art, and conceptualism.

As an artist Leegte explores the position of the new materials put forward by the (networked) computer, which is the central muse in his work. Code and software are dissected to understand their ontological nature in which he explores all their wonders and peculiarities. “I don't use software to make art, I make art about software”. Leegte lives and works in Amsterdam. His work has been exhibited internationally (Whitechapel Gallery, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, van Gogh Museum, ZKM Karlsruhe, Centre Pompidou, Museum Ludwig Budapest). He is currently represented by Upstream Gallery Amsterdam.

FeaturedImage 2018 and Window #219, 2022


Window Series, #219 (2022)