In March 2017, following four years of illness, Rotterdam writer Moosje M Goosen underwent surgery for a life-saving bilateral lung transplant. Only hours earlier, while her close friend Suzanne Weenink happened to be visiting, did the doctor announce news of a donor match. The next day, Goosen was breathing through different lungs and has since gone on to reflect on this formative experience through her writing and meditation practice. Most especially, drawing attention to the deep connectivity with people both familiar and unknown, and with the living and the dead.
In March 2020, Suzanne Weenink invited Goosen to present her writings, however tentative, at Daily Practice. Located in Rotterdam West, Daily Practice was founded by Weenink the year prior, as a space for meditation and exhibitions, and through which to explore notions of hospitality and generosity. Titled On Wards: Dispatches from a hospital bed, the exhibition comprised a text work of 40 pages, accompanied by a series of meditation cushions created by Rotterdam-based artist and researcher Nienke Terpsma. Opening as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold here in the Netherlands, the exhibition remained on view, decidedly open-ended, until it was safe for Goosen herself to attend. Furnished with a specially designed wooden floor fit for meditation, and a new series of meditation cushions created by Terpsma, On Wards Inwards seeks to create the conditions for a state of mind in which acceptance can emerge, however able or fragile a body may be.
Since last year, this space has been activated and complemented by various actions and gestures, both discrete and public, individual and collective. Such activations include bi-weekly meditation sessions, as well as silent meditation retreats marking the arrival of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. These sessions foster attention to turn inward, and to notice reactions and feelings as they arise and cease within and around us over time. Additionally, Weenink regularly comes to the gallery to personally sweep the floor, collecting the dust from the weeks past. She does so as a way to deepen her connection with the space over time—a kind of meditative practice, breathing with the installation. This gesture Weenink also regards as a form of welcoming, preparing the meditation floor for future visitors.
Text by Kunstinstituut Melly