'Perfectly Imperfect': Margaret Lansink (1961)



The collages of Margaret Lansink, a Dutch artist, represent the mending of the relationship with her daughter, who in the past decided to suspend contact with her mother. To process this earlier trauma, Lansink created a series of black and white photographs during an artist-in-residency in Japan, named ‘Borders of Nothingness’, which deals with how and when people enter and leave in our lives. The title is a reference to the metaphysical basis of wabi-sabi that things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness. Wabi-sabi in its purest form is precisely about these delicate traces at the borders of nothingness. Instead of being empty space, as in the West - nothingness is full of possibilities.


As time passed, Lansink and her daughter reconnected and worked intensely to mend their relationship. This led Lansink to revisit her earlier work. She used the practice of ‘kintsugi’, combining images, severing them and reordering them into new works, while mending the borders with gold leaf or embroidery with thread covered in gold leaf. The use of kintsugi in creating her collages emphasises the higher beauty of things imperfect, broken and mended. Just as the relationship between her and her daughter has become more beautiful and stronger.