Christie van der Haak, Elmar Trenkwalder; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Both artists in Maurits van de Laar’s gallery’s present exhibition, Elmar Trenkwalder (1959) and Christie van der Haak (1950), take ornamentation out of its generally presumed decorative context.

In Trenkwalder’s works ornaments become corporeal, especially in his more sculptural ceramics, whose uniformity in colour and material invites the viewer to look and scrutinise more closely.

It might have been a kind of a challenge to integrate Trenkwalder’s objects more with Van der Haak’s installation.

Now, although some of them are shown in the same space as Van der Haak’s, they still retain their full sovereignty, which is just as well.

Van der Haak’s installation contains wallpaper, paintings, ceramics, epoxy resin panels  and upholstered chairs.

Focusing may seem to be a bit puzzling but that is also part of the fun and charm as Van der Haak makes you look in different ways.

There is no difference in hierarchy between any object or its surroundings.

Some objects come out clearly, others seem to have a camouflage colour.

As always Van der Haak wonderfully combines a festive mood with the intimacy of the gaze.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Elmar Trenkwalder, Christie van der Haak and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters


Marin de Jong, Chronicle for the Millions; Twelve twelve Gallery, The Hague

Twelve twelve Gallery presently shows latest works by Marin de Jong (1976).

Working in our post-postmodern age De Jong is trying to find answers to the fast and disturbing de-rationalisation of society we are experiencing these days.

More than before people seem to be prepared to believe in irrational plots, nonsensical scare mongering and the vilification of any intelligence, including the arts.

De Jong reacts by covering up some of his works, literally closing them down for the expecting gaze, but he does so with humour.

As we have learnt from Christo, covering up doesn’t just hide the covered object, it also creates a new object.

De Jong shows how art will move on in spite of everything, like a fungus that doesn’t stop growing and multiplying.

Far from going underground, his works manifest themselves with character in spite of their subjects being internalised.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Marin de Jong and Twelve twelve Gallery, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Jean Arp: The Poetry of Forms; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

Last Sunday i visited the Kröller-Müller Museum to see the Jean (or Hans) Arp (1886 – 1966) exhibition.

The works themselves are of course wonderful, there is an introductory movie with Arp being interviewed in Strasbourg (his city of birth), the explanatory texts on the walls are quite good and there are even poems by Arp (he was a very important and influential European poet as well) on the walls.

Poem by Tristan Tzara, illustration by Hans Arp

However, the way Arp talks about his works are completely contradicted by their presentation in the museum’s galleries.

All works, even the reliefs on the walls, are in glass showcases, which gives you the idea that you are looking at stuffed animals or at fossils, while Arp’s works should have the freedom to have a lot of space around them.

Moreover, each sculpture has its own pedestal.

It is of course understandable that these works have to be protected while the public is allowed to examine them at close distance, but now the show looks a bit, well, unpleasantly  bizarre.

On the other hand it is great to see so many examples of Arp’s works and of his artistic development, and every lover of 20th century art should see this show (the show is in its last week!).

This short blog photo report was made, thanks to the kind and cordial support of Rien Monshouwer and Karin van der Werff.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Museum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo and the owners of the works.


Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #49

Façade with turrets, Laan van Meerdervoort, built probably around 1905 in the characteristic decorative style of the period. The right-hand turret has been restored in a somewhat cheapish way. The two parts of the building have clearly (had) different owners, as the differences in the renovations show.

In the right-hand part a Jewish merchant and his family (wife and one son) lived until 1942, when they tried to flee to Switzerland but were caught by the Nazi’s in France and were murdered in Auschwitz.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

All pictures were taken in March 2016


Bertus Pieters

Jesper Just, Continuous Monuments; West at Huis Huguetan, The Hague

About the sculpture by Jesper Just, presently in public space at Lange Voorhout, i wrote an article for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

The public sculpture is part of Just’s project Continuous Monuments at West in Huis Huguetan (Huguetan House).

Just has used the same kind of chalky concrete blocks to make walls in the small 18th century palace as an environment for four of his video loops, as well as a work specially made for the venue.

Well, in fact everything looks very much made for the venue in spite of the fact that the videos were conceived at different times.

All videos have to do with walls and architecture.

They become the visible power of ideas, social and political, and they are all confronted by lone individuals, women who seem to bend the power of these walls to their own creativity.

Videos, sounds and walls blend in a very special way in the architecture of Huis Huguetan.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Jesper Just and West, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Sam Lock, Presence; Twelve twelve gallery, The Hague

Sam Lock (1973) shows works on paper in Twelve twelve gallery.

For a painter who works in structures and layers, using water based media, charcoal, chalk etc on paper is a special challenge.

Every movement of the hand and the mind can be traced, which some may describe as ‘more spontaneous’.

But, as Lock shows, there is nothing more or less spontaneous in working on paper.

Lock’s way of working may remind you of Michelangelo’s idea that the shape of a sculpture only needed to be liberated from the marble.

Lock gives you the idea that the concept of the drawing  was already there in the paper, it just needed to be liberated, while in fact you see a co-operation between mind and material.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of the photographs courtesy to Sam Lock and Twelve twelve gallery, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Edward Krasinski; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

I visited the great retrospective exhibition of Edward Krasiński’s work at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

The presentation at the Stedelijk is a more or less chronological one which i followed.

Those who have never heard of Krasiński (1925–2004) should see this exhibition absolutely (as should those who have).

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to the owners of the works and to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Bertus Pieters