Gareth Moore: A Burning Bag as a Smoke-Grey Lotus, Stroom, The Hague

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There is a tendency these days of artists showing collections of objects, in different ways and different combinations.

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These shows usually aim at confronting the viewer with sometimes common objects in a different context.

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It often refers to the instability of the meanings of objects.

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This way of showing things can be productive and interesting, but in a way one gets used to it and then just a bit more is needed to trigger the imagination.

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When i visited Gareth Moore’s show A Burning Bag as a Smoke-Grey Lotus at Stroom, I definitely missed the sound.

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Objects are shown with different backgrounds in a kind of henhouses.

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The different hen houses represent different stages of the day.

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Irregularly sound performances are given, but when i visited Stroom it was dead quiet and the whole place looked like an unpopular museum on a late afternoon with strange and sometimes funny diorama’s.

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Which was charming in a way; but i left with the feeling of having missed most of it.

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And what about that burning bag?

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And that smoke-grey lotus? .

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Tanja Engelberts: Ondertussen (In the mean time), Stroom, The Hague

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In Stroom’s project room artists show aspects of the projects that keep them busy. In this case Tanja Engelberts has

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been in Wyoming in the United States. She is interested in the creation story of the Crow, a native American

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people. In that story the wind blows mud into the air to make land. Engelberts made long walks in the

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Wyoming landscape. She also met Grant Bulltail, one of the last story tellers of the Crow. The presentation is sympathetic,

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simple and small, but probably too simple and small. It doesn’t add much more to the idea that Engelberts has

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been in a far off country, with a strange language and in a landscape dictated by wind and weather.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Global Imaginations. The Meelfabriek, Leiden

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I went to the exhibition Global Imaginations in the Meelfabriek (the Flour Mill) in Leiden to write a review for the Villa La Repubblica blog. You can read the review Metafoor voor de wereld here (in Dutch). It is rare in the Netherlands to have an international show like this in the first place, let alone in a monumental but run down venue which will be redeveloped soon. So the combination is unique. The exhibition was organized to celebrate the 440th anniversary of Leiden University under the auspices of the Lakenhal Museum. Let me take you on a tour.

Meelfabriek 02 Ghana Thinktank

The show starts just round the corner with a shack with calls for international tolerance and international advice for the Netherlands and its problems, generally caused by its affluence.

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Meelfabriek 04 Ghana Thinktank

The project was accomplished by the Ghana Thinktank from the United States. It aims to advise the “first world” by common people from the “third world.”

Meelfabriek 05 Chen Zhen
Meelfabriek 06 Chen Zhen

In the open air are the late Chen Zhen’s Back to Fullness, Face to Emptiness – with chairs looking outward, with their backs to an excerpt of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man – and

Meelfabriek 07 Brook Andrew
Meelfabriek 08 Brook Andrew
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Australian Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial, a kind of contemporary danse macabre, both great international monuments of our time.

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In the former cleaning space

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of the mill two interesting video’s by Brazilian Rivane Neuenschwander are on show, in one of which ants are eating the continents made of honey.

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On my way to the former boiler house, a multi-storey building.

Meelfabriek 14 Mark Dion
Meelfabriek 15 Mark Dion

In its ground floor are American Mark Dion’s train of 3D prints of originals from the Leiden Museum of Natural History Naturalis, creating a kind of modern vanitas still life, a genre which was extremely popular in Dutch 17th century painting;

Meelfabriek 16 Mark Dion

with my favourite Permian lizard Dimetrodon amongst others, like a unicoloured Greek god of fluorescent plastic instead of marble.

Meelfabriek 17 Georges Adéagbo
Meelfabriek 18 Georges Adéagbo
Meelfabriek 19 Georges Adéagbo
Meelfabriek 20 Georges Adéagbo

Up to the second floor where Beninese Georges Adéagbo is showing an installation improvising on the Lakenhal’s famous Last Judgement triptych by Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533). On the landing Adéagbo gives an introduction to his thoughts about the subject.

Meelfabriek 21 Georges Adéagbo
Meelfabriek 22 Georges Adéagbo
Meelfabriek 23 Georges Adéagbo

Adéagbo’s installations are usually composed of found objects, books and papers, here from Cotonou and Leiden. Adéagbo delivers what you expect from him, but it’s still interesting, as if it is a great gig of an improvising jazz musician and his band.

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A view of the elevator shaft from the next floor,

Meelfabriek 26 Romuald Hazoumè
Meelfabriek 27 Romuald Hazoumè
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Meelfabriek 29 Romuald Hazoumè
Meelfabriek 30 Romuald Hazoumè
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where Beninese Romuald Hazoumè presents his Solidarité Béninoise pour les Occidentaux en Péril (Beninese Solidarity for Westerners in Danger), a fictitious NGO that collects money in Benin for poor whites because they are not supported by their kinsmen, which is quite hilarious.

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From Hazoumè’s floor you have a nice view of Adéagbo’s installation.

Meelfabriek 33 Mona Hatoum

On the next floor Lebanese/Palestinian Mona Hatoum has a small but subdued presentation. There are amongst others her silent but radical Do unto others…, a boomerang of stainless steel,

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her carpet Shift and

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Rubber Mat, which may remind you of intestines.

Meelfabriek 36 Georges Adéagbo

From Hatoum’s space you have again a great view of one of Adéagbo’s floor works (and what an enormous difference with Hatoum’s!).

Meelfabriek 37 Batoul S'Himi

Compared to the previous presentations Moroccan Batoul S’Himi’s World Under Pressure is a bit bland.

Meelfabriek 38 Tsang Kin-Wah

On the top floor of the boiler house all hell breaks loose in Chinese Tsang Kin-Wah’s The Fourth Seal (seen here in combination with graffiti in the building, which fits in quite well), alluding to the Book of Revelation.

Meelfabriek 39 Tsang Kin-Wah
Meelfabriek 40 Tsang Kin-Wah

Deterring and ominous texts are curling over the floor like snakes and after some time they cover you completely.

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The addition of hellish sounds makes the experience complete.

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Clearly, an awakening to reality is seriously needed.

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It is time to look for some flower power. Indonesian Tintin Wulia offers relief with a plantation of beds of sunflowers in the shape of the continents called Nous ne notons pas les fleurs (We don’t notice the flowers) where visitors can contribute to moving the flower-landmasses from their Pangaean position to their present one.

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Apparently not part of the exhibition: an artificial nest on the wall.

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Also apparently not part of the exhibition: two pigeons on the wall.

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Beninese Meschac Gaba’s Citoyen du Monde (Citizen of the World) flag (the show’s iconic logo, made up of all the world’s countries’ flags) flying over the sunflowers.

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Under the mill’s former warehouse is this remnant, a kind of sturdy monument as is the whole Meelfabriek.

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The Anglo-Argentinian duo Studio Orta have made a water purification installation in which water from the canal along the mill is purified and made potable, which was very welcome on the muggy afternoon i visited the place.

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After this refreshment, up to the first floor of the multi-storey warehouse where

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(well errr…)

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the definitive presentation of Ghana Thinktank is.

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The Thinktank is trying to remind the Dutch audience of their historic heroes of tolerance.

Meelfabriek 56 Pascale Marthine Tayou

In the same building, hanging from the roof of the warehouse down to the first floor, is the gigantic work Plastic Bags made of thousands of plastic bags, designed by Cameroonian Pascale Marthine Tayou. Climbing the warehouse, you can see more of it.

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Meelfabriek 58 Ghana Thinktank

Back to Ghana Thinktank who have built a small replica of the Achterhuis of Anne Frank. They originally called it Anne Frank Mosque, but changed it to Monument to the Dutch after protests of narrow minded locals (narrow mindedness is a local tradition).

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Meelfabriek 60 Pascale Marthine Tayou

After another look at the monstrous hanging plastic bags basket up to the next floor

Meelfabriek 61 Marjolijn Dijkman

to see Dutch Marjolijn Dijkman’s presentation of

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(and the plastic bags again)

Meelfabriek 63 Marjolijn Dijkman
Meelfabriek 64 Marjolijn Dijkman

objects, sculptures and a video that are based on magic objects from ethnographic museums, meant to predict or influence the future.

Meelfabriek 65 Marjolijn Dijkman

Except that it is partly too dark, it looks like a fine presentation.

Meelfabriek 66 Femke Herregraven

On the next floor Dutch Femke Herregraven’s video game Taxodus is presented, covering the main global problems and their financing, and

Meelfabriek 67 Taryn Simon

American Taryn Simon’s search engine Image Atlas can be tried. You type a word and you see the first results for search engines of different countries in the world. I typed “world.”

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On the same floor a good view of Dijkman’s pendulum work.

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On the next floor

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Meelfabriek 71 Raqs Media Collective

the Indian Raqs Media Collective’s video work Fever is on show, about the destruction of the world by greed and fossil fuels, making use of an old photograph of a 12th century temple relief of the Mahabharata epic.

Meelfabriek 72 Raqs Media Collective
Meelfabriek 73 Raqs Media Collective

Though the outcome of the video is predictable, it is quite impressive nevertheless.

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I walked along the top of the Plastic Bags to the next floor

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Meelfabriek 76 Andrea Stultiens
Meelfabriek 77 Andrea Stultiens

to see Dutch Andrea Stultien’s project to make the illustrations for a history book written by the Ugandan court dignitary Ham Mukasa around 1930, co-operating with Dutch and Ugandan artists and students. The project takes as a reference a list of illustrations made up by Mukasa of the potential pictures he wanted for his book.

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Meelfabriek 79 Andrea Stultiens
Meelfabriek 80 Andrea Stultiens
Meelfabriek 81 Andrea Stultiens

It is both a moving and a sophisticated project and its presentation is quite elaborate and really more suitable for a separate exhibition in a museum or gallery.

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After a short interlude

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Meelfabriek 85 Simryn Gill
Meelfabriek 86 Simryn Gill
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it’s up to the top floor of the building where Singaporean Simryn Gill gives you the opportunity to fold a paper boat from a page of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. What is the power of knowledge and how and why did it travel the world?

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Meelfabriek 89 Simryn Gill

That is certainly a major question on top of this building, overlooking this traditional town of universal knowledge and historic collections and it is a good finish of this multidimensional show in which the building, art and knowledge play important additional roles.

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After that,

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it is a long way down

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to get both feet

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firmly back on the ground.

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In the mean time,

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project developers can’t wait to redevelop the whole lot to build amongst others chic apartments for young money earners. May knowledge of the world and wisdom stay, in spite of that!

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

See full review (in Dutch) with additional footage here.

The Ebony Tower at Nouvelles Images Gallery, The Hague

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In summer many galleries take a break and are closed, but Nouvelles Images has a summer exhibition, this time curated by Hans van der Ham who chose some artists, not necessarily connected to the gallery. The show is aptly named The Ebony Tower. It is a fine show full of imagination.

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One of the artists is Aldwin van de Ven who made this wintery landscape. In the snowy mountains a (young?) couple is walking and

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there is also a cross, maybe a grave, but where from are you watching them?

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In this painting by British artist Robert Nicol you may wonder what these persons are looking for and in whose honour that funny statue is.

NIs 05 Marie Aly
NIs 06 Marie Aly
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Another painter with a sense of both humour and the surreal is German Marie Aly

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while Van de Ven portrays himself as a carpenter with the right eye.

NIs 09 Hans van der Ham
NIs 10 Hans van der Ham

Van der Ham shows works of his own as well, amongst which this figure full of wonder.

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It is not clear which way these figures by Nicol will send you or from what world they themselves are coming.

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Anyway, following the direction of the pointing finger,

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you may meet Aly’s Hungarian woman,

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exquisite,

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maybe even too exquisite.

NIs 17 Rens Krikhaar

Rens Krikhaar is also part of the gang, always looking for the sublime and

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the monstrous, the extravagant and death, while

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in Swedish painter Oskar Nilsson’s work death is the only end to all humour.

NIs 20 Anton Cotteleer
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Works by Belgian sculptor Anton Cotteleer are more or less omnipresent in The Hague at the moment,

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as they are also on show in A Gallery Named Sue (see here and here).

NIs 27 Christian Henkel

Something is being kept behind the mountain (hinterm Berg) in

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this great improvisational sculpture by German artist Christian Henkel,

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or maybe this is what is behind the mountain, but

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as far as Krikhaar is concerned there is always a lot behind the mountain

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and he is always prepared to show you, even

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if you give up a few things, chasing a dream (it’s Krikhaar at his best again).

NIs 33 Hans van der Ham
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There seems to be another way of chasing dreams in this great sculpture by Van der Ham, while

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another sharp eyed lady by Aly is watching.

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From that point there is also a good view on Cotteleer’s sculpture, showing the improbable, if not the impossible.

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Passing along another great sculpture by Van der Ham

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you may find yourself in a Great Exhibition. Well, weren’t you already?

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NIs 41 Henk Visch

Adding to this Great Exhibition are certainly this trio of guards by Henk Visch.

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It seems to be only a small jump from these one armed bandits to

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NIs 44 Hans van der Ham

the more or less surreal works by Van der Ham who also shows pictures.

NIs 45 Rens Krikhaar

Krikhaar offers a moment of contemplation on a poet’s mountain (Goethe or Heine would say it is Mount Brocken in the Harz Mountains)., and

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if you love Wandern after that, Nicol will show you how to deal with a cucumber on a picknick.

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Aly brings an ode to the recently discovered Lesula monkey and

NIs 48 Marie Aly
NIs 49 Marie Aly

to Freddy probably Mercury.

NIs 50 Henk Visch

Visch shows some drawings.

NIs 51 Oskar Nisson
NIs 52 Oskar Nisson
NIs 53 Oskar Nisson

Again, in Nilsson’s paintings humour ends in raucous laughter,

NIs 54 Hans van der Ham

opposed by Van der Ham’s silent dog and man. Will they ever get closer to each other?

NIs 55 Anton Cotteleer

In the corridor some small sculptures are shown by Cotteleer

NIs 56 Hans van der Ham
NIs 57 Hans van der Ham

and Van der Ham, while

NIs 58 Robert Nicol

in the front gallery Nicol summarizes it all in a Duchampian painting and

NIs 59 Anton Cotteleer

Cotteleer brings a sacrifice. Van der Ham has made an exciting exhibition full of wonder, humour and a good dose of surrealism. There is a lot more on show, so hurry to see i!. Next Saturday is the last day of the exhibition.

NIs 60 Hans van der Ham
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Pierre Derks: Mind your step, at LhGWR, The Hague

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To write a review for Villa La Repubblica about Pierre Derks’ present show Mind your step, I visited LhGWR (Lief hertje en de Grote Witte Reus) Gallery. Derks shows a number of video loops which deal with the relation between the individual and the group in public space, like

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in 4 Wheelers where car drivers are waiting, maybe for traffic lights. The camera is fixed, the geometric background remains the same, the drivers

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are all going the same direction and are all waiting for some time to continue their ways to the future.

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It is not easy making pictures of photographs, especially when there are moving elements in them.

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This is the background of Exodus against which women with bags on trolleys are hurrying in one direction.

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In this loop (Escalator) you see a sequence of afterimages behind every passer-by.

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In front of this geometric backstage you

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may discover some boys moving like ghosts. While

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on a another wall a camera slowly moves along a waiting double-decker train.

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In the cellar there are two more works on show.

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Mind your step!

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One of these works is somewhat obscure, but

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26 Miles is clearly about a marathon. Photographed heads of

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constantly changing individuals,

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slowly moving from left to right,

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their monumentality making it almost heroic.

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The video’s have no sound,

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so it’s good to have a relaxed look at each loop.

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See some more footage here in the review at the Villa La Repubblica blog.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, dumb witnesses..,), A Gallery Named Sue, The Hague

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I was greeted by this lion carrying a sansevieria, made by Ignace Cami, when I visited the exhibition Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, Dumb Witnesses…) at A Gallery Named Sue, to write a review for the Villa La Repubblica blog. The exhibition is part of the show Vormidable, also on show at Lange Voorhout (see pictures here) and Museum Beelden aan Zee, with works by Flemish sculptors.

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The works are all very much suited to be shown in the intimate setting of the gallery apartment, like this film installation by Ruben Bellinkx about four turtles who are each tied to a leg of the same table and make the table move, in that way showing a moving sculpture and a special experience of it.

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Jonas Vansteenkiste shows the dangers of the security of dream houses and

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a heap of houses also seem to be fit to light the fire in the hearth.

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Anton Cotteleer (who also showed work in The Hague last year, as you can see here) is well represented in this exhibition, amongst others by this

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goose keeper, or rather goose holder which

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seems to be falling on a table, dashing all hopes for an agreeable decoration.

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An earlier work by Cotteleer is about the dubious kitsch that

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embellishes Flemish lives, which he presents in almost postmodern museum-like way.

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The intimacy of the gallery strongly adds to the appearance of the works and

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even the Karel Appel (a kind of surprise combination the gallery is very good at) on the wall might make you feel at home in an art loving place. But

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next to that colourful painting is a building by Vansteenkiste which seems to be multiplying like a diatom and

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there are two heads on a table by Cotteleer, decorative and colourful like the painting, or

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are they?

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Cami uses two sansevieria leaves for a kind of fossilised crusaders’ sword, mixing typically west-European (or Flemish) heraldry with more petty-bourgeois Flemish symbolism.

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Passing the jackdaw by Dutch artist Noortje Zijlstra (one of the gallery’s artists) i was leaving this very well arranged and somewhat absurdist exhibition

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greeted again by Cami’s failed-heroic Flemish lion and Flemish sansevieria (very Flemish but both deriving from Africa).

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

See more pictures and the full review (in Dutch) here.

Bertus Pieters

Mirthe Klück, Some wormholes are bigger than others, Billytown, The Hague

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Last spring Billytown opened its doors in a new place as an artists’ run gallery.

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At the moment they are making up for the new season, readjusting technicalities etc.

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Bt 07 Mirthe Klück

In the mean time there is a very small exhibition with works by Mirthe Klück in Billytown’s Kitchen.

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Her works look both formal (“this place needed some decoration”) and informal (“the art is part of the place”).

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In the same way Klück is trying to strike a balance between the materiality of her works and the reality around them on one hand (and that is quite something already), and

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on the other hand that what we make of it in our heads when looking at them.

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In short, the perfect little show for a hot summer day in the anonymous Binkhorst area of The Hague.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Remy Jungerman, Crossing the Water, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

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To write a review for Villa La Repubblica about Remy Jungerman’s show Crossing the Water, i visited the Gemeentemuseum yesterday and for an overview of the different works I refer you to the illustrations in that article.

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However the details of the works are quite interesting too.

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Remy Jungerman 06
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Jungerman was born in Suriname and is living and working in Amsterdam. His works refer to his different cultural roots and their intermingled histories.

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He applies for instance checkered textiles because they were worn by the Surinamese Maroons as shawls, but he also uses Vlisco-design which is produced in the Netherlands for the African market.

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The white you see in the panels is kaolin, and further on you may also discover nails, like in Congolese Nkisi dolls, bottles of different alcoholic drinks, like Dutch gin, and small objects, partly coming from Winti, a Surinamese religion which has its roots to an extent in South America and Europe, but mainly in Africa, which makes it a particularly trans-Atlantic religion.

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Another feature is that Jungerman has embedded his works in a kind of modernist, geometric abstract language.

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The different works act together very well as one big installation.

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Their different spiritualities add to each other’s presence. It is a spiritual and enjoyable presentation.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters