Alaska, the biggest and least densely populated state of the U.S., is also known as The Last Frontier. For Van Stappen it's a god forsaken place where you tend to loose your sense of reality. It's also a place where global warming is clearly visible. In the ice of icebergs lies a geological eternity which Van Stappen regards as a world memory. In her work she also concentrates on a personal memory, two concepts that are combined in the installation Fading Memories. The piece called Euphoria (an emotion as 'when you feel like you're on top of thye world') refers to Alaska as a place that is actually situated on top of the world. Van Stappen made the installation for chrystal company Swarovski, lying a Pyrex globe on fragile cruches that will inevitably get out of balance en break. Euphoria is about the height of love, but also about the edge, the fall and a breakable world. A lifesize Beggar (2008) is holding a small glass statue of a woman in his hands. She's a beggar too, and he remembers her as a beloved one. Van Stappen met lot's of beggars like these in Bejing, all of them victims of the current politics by which people are driven from their homes and lives. The video installation Fading Memories (2002-2008) draws a line from remembering to forgetting. Brains in ice and glass are projected on the frosen inner side of a fridge. The brain melts as fruit rots away in old still live paintings, yet the fridge tries to avoid decay and loss. Fading Memories also connects to amnesia, as a concept the work aims to analyse the importance not forgetting. Other installations like Drownings and Knees are to be seen as settings for relics or symbolic objects. Glass Knees, attached to a drawing on the wall, can say more about weakness or strength. The bubble shaped Drownings refer to the breath of drowning boat fugitives. They're silent screams from below the surface: elegant when you first look at them but not so easy to handle, once you know what they're really about.
(The Exhibition 'Alaska' took place in Mercatorgalerij, Desguinlei 100, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium, from 18 February until 28 April 2008)