Karianne Bueno: Doug’s Cabin, at LhGWR Gallery, The Hague

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The street in front of LhGWR was a mess when i visited the gallery last Friday. Such things influence you when entering a venue and may even influence the way

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you start seeing things at an exhibition. Now it wasn’t the first time i saw Karianne Bueno’s show Doug’s Cabin, but still it seemed to offer a kind of refuge from

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the urban wilderness outside, which, in a way, is remarkable as it deals with wilderness itself. It’s the humid wilderness on Vancouver Island along

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the Pacific coast of Canada. You might call it the western frontier of western colonization: for all its questionable victories it has fallen into a state of deterioration,

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kept alive by some technology and history, and surrounded by trees and wild animals. Photographer Bueno tells a story about Doug’s very basic camp site and

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its surroundings. Her photo’s act as text while found objects, pictures, some exquisite drawings by Medy Oberendorff, etc. act as illustrations. The place itself

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was based on fear of the dangers of the East at the other side of the big ocean. Different worlds of aw, decay and beauty meet each other while in the background

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you constantly hear Coast to Coast, the Conspiracy Theory radio. Around this very evocative exhibition there are some more pictures by Bueno on show.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

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Arike Gill, Le Palais de l’électricité, at Stroom, The Hague

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In the OpZicht (OnSight) series, Stroom presents newly registered artists in The Hague. This time it’s Arike Gill. She has made

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an enormous drawing representing the optimistic atmosphere of the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris. In a sequence from dreamlike colours

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to the black and white of the photographic memory, branchlike structures reach out apparently to disrupt the scene, even using electric

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light, probably from the represented Palais de l‘électricité. Man shows his optimistic ambitions but there is clearly something working against that.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Pulsar, by Pim Piët and Anna Mikhailova, Stroom, The Hague

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Painter Pim Piët and composer Anna Mikhailova have been cooperating on their Pulsar-project for some years now. In Stroom’s Ondertussen (Meanwhile) series they give an update.

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You can look at and listen to a musical performance and

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there’s a gorgeous book by Piët which could read as a simple musical score. Piët’s style

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– reminiscent of explanatory scientific illustrations of the nineteen seventies – is

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quite lyrical in spite of its minimalistic looks. In his

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wall painting, integrated in the presentation, the dots could represent the bleeps produced by the pulsars.

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You can also see Piët at work. And generally

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there’s a lot of music in the air, or rather

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in the cosmos.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, De Bloemenfontein van Worpswede (The Flower Fountain of Worpswede), 1646, The Hague

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De Bloemenfontein van Worpswede (The Flower Fountain of Worpswede) is a recent video work by Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys, presently on show in 1646 gallery.

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The work consists of a sequence of scenes in which the actors don’t move and are silent. Some of the protagonists look neutral and unmoved, others

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look mentally disturbed. Where the scenes show a combination of the persons, they don’t look at each other, they all seem to be locked up in their

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own hermetic worlds. Further on, the storyline, as far as there is one, has a Pygmalion-like aspect. There is a story, told by a voice-over and

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subtitled in English, which is more or less absurdist and which has apparently nothing to do with the scenes in the video. In a way it perverts

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the sequence of the film. As far as that is on purpose, it has succeeded, however, as far as i am concerned, that could have been

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done with any other text. Moreover the sequence of scenes are so strong and so well balanced that any other textual addition would be obsolete. Nevertheless, go

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and see this great video work, and if you find the text to be a strong aspect of the work, that’s all the better for you!

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Split, Konrad Smolenki at West gallery, The Hague

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At the moment in the exhibition Split at West gallery, Konrad Smolenski shows three installations, each accompanied by audio-works by others. It all works out quite impressively.

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This is Fly, with cattle skulls and a horse skull and speakers in their eye sockets,

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which still make some noise but visually the conversation has congealed.

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Mattin’s sound-work Tinnitus adds quite a nasty sound to the installation, so

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continuing to the next work is just as well.

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The installation Judge is exhibited in a darkened room. Its material structure is more or less

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lost in the dark, but its influence can’t be missed in the room, reinforced as it is by the voice

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of a dead pilot represented by the trance medium Jack Sutton.

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Smolenki’s three works all look dumb or voiceless and, logically thinking, they are. But

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the skulls make some noise of their own, the Judge seems to get a voice from the tape by Sutton and

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the work The End of Radio, consisting of microphones, also makes noise itself. The microphones

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all reach out to one point, in this case to an audio-work by Gregory Whitehead.

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In fact the combinations with the sound-works make new installations. That also makes the idea of a split quite redundant.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Reinhardt Helm’s Menschliche Komödie (Reinhardt Helm’s Human Comedy), Spanjaardshof, The Hague

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In the Spanjaardshof-building Jan Reinhardt and Martin Helm, forming the duo Reinhardt Helm, have made an installation in the two exhibition rooms and in the entrance hall.

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It’s called Reinhardt Helm’s Menschliche Komödie (Reinhardt Helm’s Human Comedy) and it has a strong German flavour. The installation plays with the different atmospheres of the three different spaces.

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The most homely room contains a silhouette of the famous Rückenfigur of Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above the Mists,

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at his feet a rucksack, pots with succulents and

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scorched wood and surrounded by greenish paintings and of course the elaborate fireplace,

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as if man in his most innocent state could still go anywhere, fire, nature and his mind at his disposal.

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The darkish entrance hall is the transition to the other room,

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which has a cold and impersonal atmosphere. Adolf Eichmann has replaced Friedrich’s Rückenfigur.

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Objectivity, bureaucracy and efficiency have become covers of human catastrophe. The visionary Wanderer has become an ambitious bureaucrat.

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While the hat may cover anything in between the Wanderer and Eichmann.

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One could criticize the show for being a bit altmodisch, but that may as well be an asset and it is definitely part of the atmosphere and the building.

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The feminine doesn’t seem to play a role in the installation, or should the human endeavour and its sometimes catastrophic consequences be seen as something male?

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All together the cooperation of the two artists has made one plus one more than just two.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

The Homestead Principle #4, Sebastiaan Schlicher at Maurits van de Laar Gallery, The Hague

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There is something jazzy about Sebastiaan Schlicher’s drawings. Or rather something rocking, or even

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more something punkish. Well, i guess i could go on mentioning musical styles. Too little

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is known about the influence of music on the visual arts, which must have

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been quite significant since the inventions of radio and gramophone, especially since the nineteen twenties

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when records became more widely available. Where the mutual influence of vision, sound and

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text can bring you today, is clearly visible in Schlicher’s work. Rythms, texts, stripes, lines,

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hallucinatory visions and graffiti mix in an orgy of pencil, ink and improvisation. In

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that way Schlicher stands in a musical-artistic tradition that has become more and more obvious

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and explicit. His works seem to flow into music and vice versa without a

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problem, so the real music might be something you may miss in his current exhibition

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The Homestead Principle #4 at Maurits van de Laar Gallery. But i guess that

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is just as well for Maurits van de Laar. Instead it is well worth seeing

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the variety of rawness and virtuosity. Schlicher is not just a good draughtsman or

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an endearing rough improviser; he knows how to make visions come alive. He knows both

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their intimacy and their monumentality. He knows the secret life of the visual arts.

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And if you don’t get it, there is always his Homestead to receive you.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Close, at Nutshuis and Acte de Présence, The Hague

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The Nutshuis is far from the most perfect place in town to have an exhibition. The building has an entrance hall, a canteen and some corridors and staircases. But that is compensated by its enthusiasm for showing photography which has an impact both artistically and socially.

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The present exhibition Close, about intimacy, works well within the context of the building in spite of its shortcomings.

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In the entrance hall there is work on show by Isabelle Wenzel who takes herself as an object in still-lives, thus

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making statements on femininity, beauty and intimacy.

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Katrien de Blauwer uses found footage and makes two part collages of them. Many a figure

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has lost its head in the process.

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Bruno Roels has printed his diary pictures with a common copier which makes the pictures less clear. Used as wallpaper

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they create a blurred world of memory and become memory walls.

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The exhibition shows considerable differences. The difference of dealing with memory between Roels and Florian Braakman couldn’t be bigger.

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Braakman is closest to the idea of romantic love which is there to be lost and to be remembered melancholically.

Nh 13 Marina Richter
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Marina Richter presents her pictures of intimacy in a more or less intuitive way. The way

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she has composed the pictures is a way of thinking.

Nh 16 Lina Scheynius
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Lina Scheynius’ pictures are both daringly intimate and otherworldly. It seems she doesn’t make a difference

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between a person or a view of clouds and both are anonymous, but both are intimate and sensual.

Nh 20 Zhe Chen

While i was there by the end of last week, Zhe Chen’s work was still not on show because German customs are making problems. Great pity and a great shame, as far as i can see.

Nh 21 Geraldine Kang

Geraldine Kang makes pictures within the intimacy of her own family,

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with astonishingly monumental and theatrical results.

Nh 23 Sarah Eechaut
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I must admit i don’t understand what Sarah Eechaut’s work on show is all about (I understand they are self-portraits;

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the information on the sign isn’t particularly enlightening, but maybe i’m too lazy), but it is intriguing and impressive work anyway.

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Most elaborately on show of all is Iztok Klančar’s work, which is presented on screen in the Nutshuis’ small cinema. His work, again,

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combines personal intimacy and romance, but

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from a gay point of view, introduced

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with a real bunch of lilies, flowers of chastity, but with a heavy smell of decomposition.

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These flowers of chastity and decomposition might as well accompany the moving series of Colin Gray about the deterioration of man in his old age and death

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and the rituals of consolation that give it a meaning. He took pictures of his parents. His pictures have become part of the process and ritual.

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In the nearby shop window gallery Acte de Présence some more works by Klančar are on show, their intimate explicitness mingling with the local street noise.

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All together it is a good exhibition of pain, doubt and love, things the street won’t tell you.

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(Click on the picture to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters