De Ateliers Debut Series: Alex Dordoy, at Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

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Alex Dordoy (1985) shows paintings and sculptures in the Ateliers Debut Series

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(referring to De Ateliers) at the Gemeentemuseum. It is not

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clear if the whole show is one installation or a combination

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of a series of paintings and a series of sculptures.

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The sculptures look like three-dimensional paintings in combination with some objets-trouvés.

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As such they are not really that impressive or surprising,

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they might be more interesting if shown either more autonomously or

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as effective parts of an installation. Now they are neither.

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The paintings are technically quite good and as a series they

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work well, though i think, with his obvious talents, Dordoy

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could have dug much deeper than this. It’s clear Dordoy thought

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his paintings needed quite some space, which is right. But

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in that case his sculptures are stand-in-the-ways, or the paintings are

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just part of the backdrop for the sculptures. With some

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benevolence you could say the sculptures are the props in a

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play where the viewers are the actors. That sounds nice

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but it would obscure the fact that the show doesn’t work

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like that when you are walking around there. Try harder

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next time, Mr. Dordoy! I’m sure you can do better!

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Locus, Upcoming Iranian Artists Abroad, at Gemak/Vrije Academie, The Hague

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Some time ago i visited the exhibition Locus, Upcoming Iranian Artists Abroad at Vrije Academie/Gemak to write an article about it. The article being published on Villa La Repubblica, it’s time to show some more impressions. It starts with

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a poetic touch by Farhad Fozouni (1979) using both Latin and Persian script and

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even integrating illustrations as part of the poem, or vice versa. Another possibility

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for a starter is to watch a documentary by Hamed Yousefi (1981) about modern and present day visual culture in Iran,

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amongst others about Reza Abedini (1967), who designed the poster for this exhibition.

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Celia Eslamieh Shomal (1981),

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having become part of both Dutch and Iranian culture,

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puts a face on that hybridity, using the colour orange.

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Pendar Nabipour (1985) mystifies remembrances of Iranian design of the 1980’s.

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Nabipour is also co-curator of the exhibition (compliments!).

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Amir Tirandaz (1984) has moved his studio to Gemak for the time of the exhibition. Around the time

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of my visit there wasn’t much activity, but that’s some time ago already. So, go and check!

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Ehsan Behmanesh (1979)

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left this suitcase,

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trying to find its way in two cities.

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Arefeh Riahi (1979) makes writing in both scripts corporeal by

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writing simultaneously with both hands.

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Ehsan Fardjadniya (1983) has built a dome referring to

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architecture which puts the weight of power on

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our shoulders and full of monitors showing the power of the media, while

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you hear him reading a letter to his mother, making

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the whole thing almost heart breaking.

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Another heart breaker (well, in a positive sense, that is) is

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Mehregan Kazemi’s (1985) photo and text installation about

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the loss of innocence and becoming part of a humiliated and humiliating community. For

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Siamak Anvari’s (1981) installation you have to take off your shoes. His is

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partly a sound installation. The santur

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(the musical instrument) is broken by the change of climate, but will sound by itself now and then. In another

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room you can see still more documentaries by Yousefi. Take

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your time, it’s interesting.

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And don’t forget to sign up for Joubin Zargarbashi’s (1976) endearing and sympathetic Omnigaze project!

All together this is another fine museum-like presentation by Gemak. Take your time and see that the world is bigger than your little town.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Click here for the full article and some more pictures on Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch)

Art The Hague, Fokker Terminal, The Hague

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Art The Hague is quite a small fair but it takes some time to see it all. There is a kind of limbo before you enter the real art fair,

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which gives you the idea that things are not really important in that vestibule. The Hague Historical Museum shows some pictures of its sympathetic project Den Haag, Stad van aankomst (The Hague, City of Arrival) by Conny Luhulima and Geert van Kesteren, while

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WTC-Gallery shows some expressive postmodernity to fit modern suburbia, with amongst others this diorama by Demiak. And further on?

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Well, they probably forgot to put this sculpture by Joachim De Block in its right place and left it in limbo to be ignored by the visitors. And on entering the great hall

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you might think you entered a luxury poster shop, but

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do turn left to Seasons Gallery to take a look at Gerard Verdijk’s paintings. Verdijk (1934-2005) was one of the best painters in The Hague.

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Work by Lauren Hillebrandt at With Tsjalling, playing with colour, shape and meaning.

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Gallery Project 0.2 shows Denis Rouvre who always uses the same clair-obscure, presented by the gallery in an aesthetic, stark and clean way. A modern way of having trophies on your wall. But

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why do i think Rouvre’s work is slick and this drawing by Arike Gill (at Vonkel Gallery) isn’t?

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Talking about slick photography (and there is quite a lot on show), you can’t say Merijn Koelink’s pictures are slick. He concentrated on the use of LED in public places at night. Colour, light and dark tell a story here with more aspects. Koelink is a fresh graduate of the The Hague Royal Academy (at A Gallery Named Sue).

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Helder Gallery shows, amongst others, sculptures by Willem Speekenbrink and paintings by Jakob de Jonge who will both have an exhibition at the gallery soon.

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This year some Belgian galleries are represented at the fair. Amongst others Eastmen Gallery with works by Kamagurka and

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by Gommaar Gilliams, a painter who isn’t very well known in this country.

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Nouvelles Images gallery shows, amongst others, geometric abstract works by Cor van Dijk (very fine sculpture) and

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Ditty Ketting (painting).

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Some galleries give special attention to just one or two artists. Others who don’t, have sometimes difficulties in showing where their priorities are, like Van Hoof Gallery (is it just aesthetics? funny but silent pets?),

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Chiefs and Spirits (art from Africa? art from elsewhere? and why exactly this choice?)

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or Het Bouwhuis (the aesthetics of nature? or aesthetics based on nature?).

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Compared to these Bob Smit Gallery has no qualms showing what it stands for, as these works by Stefan Gross show.

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At Mirta Demare gallery Sandro Setola silently steals the show, while

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in the next booth Buro Rotterdam has a small but very fine solo presentation of works by Olaf Mooij who gave cars a different, more organic life (and who also made the sculpture you can see on the very first picture of this posting).

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Next year herman de vries wil represent the Netherlands at the Venice Biennial and as such he has been given a booth of his own.

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That you can perfectly well show quite a few different artists in one booth without losing your identity as a gallery is shown by Ramakers gallery

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and Heden, the place in The Hague where you can borrow art. Heden also

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shows work by Anne Forest who will have an exhibition there soon.

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Livingstone gallery pays some extra attention to small but very fine works by Jan Wattjes, while

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Dom’Arte shows amongst others works by Marc Mulders and

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Han Klinkhamer.

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But the best prominent and defining features of Art The Hague are the informal solo presentations, away from the egalitarian dictatorship of the white cube.

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On the ground floor is a presentation of works by sculptors who graduated from Belgian Academies this year. They all exhibit interesting work. I’ll give an impression here without comments: Jean-Loup Leclerq,

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Marjorie Kapelusz,

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Clara Gallet,

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Jeroen Van der Fraenen,

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Joachim De Block and

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Ruben Podevyn.

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On the second floor there are some special presentations by galleries,

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again without much comment: Livingstone shows Simon Schrikker’s marvellous Pulpo series together with the stop motion video he made with it;

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Bob Smit Gallery shows that being over the top says more about art and society than just being slick,

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as shown here by Pieter W. Postma;

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Helder gallery has an impressive combination of works by Willem Speekenbrink (sculpture),

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Jochem Rotteveel (paintings with duct tape) and

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Roland Sohier (drawings); and

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Ramakers gallery shows Joncquil’s fine series 60 Ways to Hold a Rope.

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Although the exhibition has no real surprises, this year’s edition is stronger than last year’s,

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but it could be much stronger.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Alchemy, at Nest gallery, The Hague

‘You might think this is the finest pearl
But it’s only cardboard balls
Seamed in glue
Overwhelming technique
Done through diligence
It’s all happening from the inside, you say?’

Captain Beefhaert, Best batch yet

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Alchemy is the title of the present show at Nest gallery. But it might as well have been called Transformation. However Alchemy stresses the more

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material aspect of the exhibition. As the central piece by Navid Nuur shows, the exhibition is balancing between the aesthetics of the visual and the aesthetics

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of the conceptual. In this heap of salt, iron filings are being kept together by magnets. The salt absorbs the moisture (including the breath of visitors) of its environment, causing the iron to rust.

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In a video work by Oscar Santillan a drummer drums on the rhythm of the falling sweat of an exhausted dancer in a church. In a religious place body liquid transforms to sound.

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In another work he extracted the ink from one of the volumes of Humboldt’s book Kosmos, the ink shaped as a very small ball in front of the book. Well, as you can see

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there is a lot to explain about each work, like about this small, seemingly marbled work by Nuur, which is a piece of iron partly stained by rust, blood and anti-rust.

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As this is not an explanatory blog i urge you to go and see for yourself, e.g.

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this pile of wasp nest’s paper by Alistair Mackie or

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this polygon by David Rickard. Rickard also

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perforated this oxygen tank and melted the drilling rests over it. Of course

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such an exhibition (or any exhibition for that matter) couldn’t do without a text work by Lawrence Weiner who makes clear in all his works that art

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can only exist in our heads. Sculpture is more than an action, an instruction or a wrought piece of stone or any other material. And what could water and dust create?

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Well, when you come to think of it….. why not

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delve into some more works by Nuur? There is

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one with vitamin D powder.

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Myriam Holme’s work has a room of its own and is based on several contrasts and opposites. Whatever you think of it,

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whether it is a work of material aesthetics or more spiritual aesthetics, it works very well. That’s different

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in Frank Ammerlaan’s work. It shows the results of a chemical process, which creates a work of some disinterested beauty. It simply lacks the stimulus to evoke meaning,

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for the Earth and its processes don’t create meaning. People do. All together this is a well composed and inspiring exhibition, which i’d recommend to anyone.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters