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"iExist" is a serial photographic project, a forthcoming artist book and exhibition created by artist Mariejon de Jong-Buijs. "iExist" is a collaboration between a human and her smartphone. Formulating a distinct artistic practice for "iExist" de Jong-Buijs imposes a strict conceptual rule for her photographic series. Every morning, after getting up, she peers through a window and takes a photograph with her smartphone. Each photograph replicates her perspective at a specific place and time. Capturing the passage of time "iExist" is a confirmation of the self. Yet de Jong-Buijs’ methodology, expressed through the perceived veracity of the photographic medium, also serves as a confirmation of the human existence.



de Jong-Buijs launched "iExist" on November 25, 2016, pausing the project the following year. During this hiatus she enriched "iExist", blurring confines of the intimate world of the self and the public forum of social media. During this second year she posted the corresponding photograph from 2016 on Instagram. In 2018 de Jong-Buijs resumed "iExist", which she still actively practices today.

Seriality in tandem with de Jong-Buijs conceptual rule presents a dynamic narrative that traces the subtle unfolding life of an individual, representing the here and now. Each day the artist and her audience confront the passage of time. The difference embedded in this process reflects the mutability of life and the world. The window and smartphone, framing devices that both reveal and conceal, mediate the gaze of both artist and viewer. Reaching beyond the photographic image "iExist" is a deeply personal project about a woman, her life and existence. The view to the outside can also be a look inside. Yet this aspect also reflects an ignorance of future. While an intimate reflection, de Jong-Buijs blurs this distinction by posting her images on social media. Her tools, a smartphone and Instagram, reflect the pervasive conditions of contemporary life, which serve to engage her audience. The title "iExist", drawing from naming practices of Apple Inc., confronts the viewer with a dichotomy between the individual and technology. The title encourages the viewer to contemplate their own existence.

The forthcoming artist book will feature each phase of "iExist" in parallel. Photographs from different years will be juxtaposed, meeting on the pages of the publication. Leafing through and comparing images side by side simultaneously creates new moments and connections for the viewer. The choice of semi-transparent paper references the luminosity of the smartphone screen in addition to the ephemeral place and time of Mariejon de Jong-Buijs' two years of life. The book cover will serve as the linking mechanism for each of the two years. 

The forthcoming exhibition will feature the corpus of the "iExist" project. In this forum the photographs paired with text adds another dimension to the project. de Jong-Buijs’ artistic practice reaches beyond "iExist", as she works with different media including painting on canvas, which is central to her work. To fully explore the life of the artist and active a deeper understanding for the viewer the exhibition will treat this diversity, placing her in other media in dialogue with the "iExist" photographs. Such juxtapositions, such as painting and photography, will serve to further embroider the serial and temporal aspects of the "iExist" project. Central to the exhibition is the fundamental question of existence, a human timeline. The exhibition seeks to channel this universal message by speaking to a broad audience and prompting reflection of one’s own life and the passage of time. 

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