Mark Rothko, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

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In 1988 i turned 30 and i decided to see the great Mark Rothko retrospective in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne

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to celebrate my coming of age. I bought a train ticket in advance and the evening before i had a friend

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around who brought me a bottle of jenever (Dutch gin) which we bravely emptied for the best part. I only had a

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few hours of sleep. On my birthday i decided to skip my breakfast to catch the earliest train to Cologne. I

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thought i’d have a nap in the train and a cheese sandwich, but i couldn’t sleep and the sandwich made me

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almost sick. So, more dead than alive i arrived in Cologne where i dragged myself straight to the Ludwig and to Rothko.

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It was one of the best experiences in my life and i forgot my hangover and the fact that i had come

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of age at last. There were lots of people, but as i remember them, they were all very polite. Sometimes i

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even had the idea i was Moses, they were the Red Sea and the Rothko’s were the Promised Land. That only changed

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when Markus Lüpertz entered the room. Obviously he was the real Moses. I can’t stand Moses ever since. After Rothko i

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saw the rest of the museum which took me quite a few hours. It all made me very hungry and, being

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in Cologne, i expected to have a hearty meal with Schweinefleisch (German pork) in the museum restaurant. But, well, all they had

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on offer was some tasteless pasta with a few shreds of pork (i think they even called it carbonara). To say it

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in post-postmodern language: i problematized the greatness of Rothko related to this ambiguous meal. I took the train back to The

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Hague and got out at Eindhoven as in those days they had an excellent station buffet there where i ate chicken and chips.

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In between Eindhoven and The Hague i slept at last and dreamt about Rothko’s paintings. Late in the evening, back in

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my local pub, i drank the jenever i missed the evening before. Ah, that was Rothko in 1988! Nowadays i don’t

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drink much and today i enjoyed the present Rothko exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum a lot. The presentation is better than the one

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in the Ludwig 26/27 years ago. Except that the other visitors today didn’t behave like the Red Sea and except for the

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combination with Mondrian in the last room. Yes Gemeentemuseum, we KNOW you are THE Mondrian museum in this world. And when

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i saw that ridiculously big frame around Victory Boogie-woogie, i really had the idea the world might look better with a few jenevers.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Bertus Pieters

Art in Redlight Fair #10, Amsterdam

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Due to late coming i couldn’t see everything i wanted to see, but well, here are some impressions. The monumental former stock market building by Berlage in Amsterdam is a majestic venue for an art fair. Art in Redlight is an artists’ fair and not one for galleries, although some galleries are represented. There are installations, sculptures, pictures and anything in between.

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Installations like Liqui Flux by Dirk van Lieshout and Klara Adam, based on a performance;

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or this one by Beerenberg (Mark Beerens and Dimitri Jagtenberg),

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this installation by New Sculpture Department ( NSD, a co-operation of Lorenzo Quintanilla and Kees Boevé and others) which also gives sounds every few minutes,

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this very introspective installation by Fabrizio Romano Battistoni and

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the smaller installations by Airco Caravan, like this mattress referring to a place in New York where a murder was committed (there a two more of them in other places at the fair).

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And here Airco Caravan is explaining her Art of What project (which i discussed here in Dutch on the Villa La Repubblica blog).

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The building is an exceptionally good place to show more monumental work like this big sculpture by Pim Palsgraaf,

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while Setareh Maghsoudi (a recent graduate from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy) had to cram the paper architecture of her Mobile Mosque (MoMo) into her stand, which in itself had a charm of its own.

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Annegret Kellner’s quivering tree was doing well in its corner while in the central

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foyer there is this vast work by Bilal Chahal on show.

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There are works by more than seventy artists on show in the stands, sometimes two artists combine their works like Eun Young Lee (photo works) and Carel Lanters (sculpture).

AIR 24 Naoki Fuku Yolanda Esther Bürgi
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Yolanda Esther Bürgi and Naoki Fuku even co-operated in a project called Drift Thoughts in which they produced more or less subversive work.

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Artists meet each other: here Jakob de Jonge (front) is talking to Mark Beerens (back) in the stand showing De Jonge’s (right) and Lisette Frimannslund’s works (left; Frimannslund graduated this year and her works were shown on this blog and discussed in Dutch on the Villa La Repubblica blog)

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Leonard van de Ven shows new work, both paintings and

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surprising photographic works (left) in a stand together with Wouter Willebrands (right).

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As i said, i didn’t have enough time to see everything and probably i only saw the most obvious, even if it were a kid picking its nose – by Eleonora Volpi, a recent Gerrit Rietveld Academy graduate –, or a junk raven by Robert Roelink. But you can take your time to see everything in between Christmas and New Years Eve. Do!

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Bertus Pieters