Vormidable, Contemporary Flemish Sculpture, Lange Voorhout and Kloosterkerk, The Hague

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The present edition of the annual sculpture exhibition (under the auspices of Museum Beelden aan Zee) at the Lange Voorhout is a far better one than those of the last few years, in spite of it looking quite modest. The theme is sculptures from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and it’s titled Vormidable (don’t mind the Dutch pun; vorm = form, shape).

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There is a good variety of different aspects which seem to add to each other without giving the idea of a showcase of different and unrelated things. That’s quite an achievement, regarding the restricted possibilities for a sculpture show in this most lofty avenue.

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On one end the exhibition opens (or ends) with a guardian angel by Johan Tahon. As with some other works of Tahon the angel is double headed. One could say that shows the split of each human being in a material and a spiritual personality. Tahon’s spirituality

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is followed by representation in Wesley Meuris’ Entrance Kit for Sculpture Garden III. The information panel says: “Meuris’s intention is to show

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that the link between past and present has been lost.” I think the opposite might as well be true, but it is undoubtedly a work in its proper place.

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Sofie Muller’s Jesse might easily become one of the audience’s darlings. And in this case darlings shouldn’t be killed.

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The boy with his trace of flowering begonias may even remind you of Hansel (from Gretel) who left a trace of pebbles to find his way home.

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Leon Vranken deconstructed a decorated pedestal with wood

V 09 Leon Vranken

which may remind you of the transience of all seemingly stable things. And then,

V 10 Luk Van Soom
V 11 Luk Van Soom

far from the sea, there is Luk Van Soom’s high wave, both beautiful and dangerous.

V 12 Luk Van Soom
V 13 Luk Van Soom

Now it becomes clear why we need Tahon’s guardian angel.

V 14 Fred Eerdekens

Fred Eerdekens’ Landscape seems to be a bit

V 15 Fred Eerdekens

out of place at the Lange Voorhout in the shade of the green trees.

V 16 Tinka Pittoors
V 17 Tinka Pittoors

Tinka Pittoors’ White Migrant (Harry) seems to be a bit out of place here too.

V 18 Leo Copers
V 19 Leo Copers

For those who want to repent publicly there is Leo Copers’ VIPAG (Vrijwillige Individuele Publieke Automatische Gevangenis,

V 20 Leo Copers
V 21 Leo Copers

Voluntary Individual Public Automatic Jail). I haven’t seen anybody jailing him or herself publicly yet, but

V 22 Leo Copers
V 23 Leo Copers

the idea itself is a wonderful work about the absurdity of morals in our times of blaming and shaming.

V 24 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 25 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 26 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Probably not accidentally near the prison is a fallen dictator by Philip Aguirre y Otegui. The dictator wasn’t on a very high plinth, so as a symbol of fallen power the sculpture is quite obscure.

V 27 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 28 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Also obscure is his anonymity, one could think of any leader of the present or the past seeking the pinnacle of the lowest in human character.

V 29 Renato Nicolodi

Next to the dictator appropriately stands Scrinium 01 by Renato Nicolodi, an architectural model that

V 30 Renato Nicolodi

may remind you of the cold sternness of dictatorial architectural aesthetics of the 20th century.

V 31 Peter De Cupere
V 32 Peter De Cupere

According to the accompanying text the smell around Peter De Cupere’s Earth Car should remind us of the smell of the Tuscan countryside (more on Peter de Cupere on VND here) .

V 33 Peter De Cupere
V 34 Peter De Cupere

Well, it isn’t really an advertorial for Tuscany; the smell is almost sickening. But for the remainder it is again an installation in the best absurdist traditions (which is of course positive).

V 35 Caroline Coolen
V 36 Caroline Coolen

There is a sense of absurdity in Caroline Coolen’s Shepherd too (more on Caroline Coolen on VND here and on Villa La Repubblica here). The shepherd may remind you of the idealized shepherds of the 18th century in a time when high culture stood far from nature and reality,

V 37 Caroline Coolen

his fragmented state working both humorous and painful and his fragmented dog underscoring his predicament (according to the information panel it is a fox that could be a victim or a culprit). Another work by

V 38 Caroline Coolen
V 39 Caroline Coolen
V 40 Caroline Coolen
V 41 Caroline Coolen

Coolen is also fragmented and seems to be caught in a whirlwind, almost complementing Van Soom’s baroque high wave.

V 42 Peter Rogiers
V 43 Peter Rogiers
V 44 Peter Rogiers

Absurdism remains prevalent in Silver Cakespoons by Peter Rogiers. Few sculptures are as appropriate for this site as this strangely balancing tree.

V 45 Nick Ervinck
V 46 Nick Ervinck

LUIZAERC by Nick Ervinck was designed on a computer and printed with a 3D printer. Although the making process of a work like this is interesting (and i’m sure we’ll see a lot more 3D printing in future sculpture)

V 47 Nick Ervinck

the result isn’t much more than a big plasma-like doodle got out of hand and the opposition with the decorated pedestal is nice but nothing special.

V 48 Johan Creten

It is back to the sea again with Johan Creten’s humanized ray Octo in which different aspects are combined: the official monument on a pedestal, the showing of stuffed animals from the sea, the

V 49 Johan Creten
V 50 Johan Creten

idea of a sea monster, the upright stance of a human being, the human portrait, the dull lustre of a ray’s egg washed ashore and the patina of bronze.

V 51 Johan Creten
V 52 Johan Creten
V 53 Johan Creten

Creten is also responsible for Le grand vivisecteur, an owl with a seat which is an instantaneous public favourite and a good end to a well balanced public exhibition.

V 54 Johan Tahon
V 55 Johan Tahon
V 56 Johan Tahon
V 57 Johan Tahon
V 58 Johan Tahon

For those who are present before 4 pm there is more to be seen by Johan Tahon in the Kloosterkerk.

V 59 Johan Tahon
V 60 Johan Tahon
V 61 Johan Tahon
V 62 Johan Tahon
V 63 Johan Tahon

As you can see, Tahon’s sculptures are quite photogenic in the church.

V 64 Johan Tahon

There is also a video where you can see Tahon at work and where he is interviewed.

“I’ve got almost none of my own sculptures”

V 65 Johan Tahon

“I do have them in plaster, but i have no bronze casts of my own work”

V 66 Johan Tahon

“That’s all in rich people’s homes”

V 67 Johan Tahon

“I can’t afford having my own works in bronze”

V 68 Johan Tahon

“Which is a pity really”

V 69
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Graduation Show 2015 at the Royal Academy, The Hague

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In July i visited the graduation show at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague to write a review for the Villa La Repubblica blog. Here are some photo impressions for those who didn’t attend (or for those who did).

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When entering the building the visitor was greeted amongst others by some girl power by Danicha Leliveld. The great exhibition hall opposite the entrance

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was stuffed with works by students who apparently had to be showcased by the Academy. I can’t say I was much impressed by it, although i did like this poster by Hatice Kilinç in which internal organs set themselves free from the body of a veiled woman, who is clearly not amused.

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Jordie Rovers’ photo book is by far the best part of his presentation about art as archaeology.

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Roaming the ground floor of the old building i found myself

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in the textile and fashion department.

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The most spectacular presentation was by Olivier Jehee,

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showing the visual language of power of both trash and decadence, which i enjoyed very much.

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Up to the second floor! There i saw

KABK15 12 Hilde De Windt

a fine photo book about the migration problems in Europe (or rather the problems we created) by Hilde De Windt. Somewhere else

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at the second floor of the old building Anne Kranenborg of the interior architecture and furniture design department showed some interesting ideas.

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The most interesting presentation of that department was by Róman Kienjet who presents small found objects in small reliquaries, giving them the value of history and mythology.

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Elsewhere on the second floor

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Elske Verdoorn reported about the cultural passions of people living in the margin in The Hague. This is the presentation of Serge, one of them.

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One of the most

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impressive presentations on the second

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floor was by Liza Pace.

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Her project Going Solo

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was especially photogenic.

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The third floor of the old building has a tower with a room which contained works by three students:

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Charlotte Ursem,

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Elise Sothys and

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Marija Angelovska. All of them

KABK15 34 Marija Angelovska

showed interesting work, but i don’t think the combination of the three worked very well,

KABK15 35 Marija Angelovska

the personalities overpowered each other.

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Continuing my quest on the third floor

KABK15 38 Najmeh Saghaei

i ran into the interesting work of Najmeh Saghaei. Her projections tear bodies apart in search of the unknown parts of the human character.

KABK15 39 Martin Gabriel

Also on the third floor some more painters.

KABK15 40 Martin Gabriel

Amongst them Martin Gabriel who brings the world of

KABK15 41 Martin Gabriel

video games back to paper, cutting, pasting and painting;

KABK15 42 Simon Oosterhuis

Simon Oosterhuis who made some interesting works about the human body in

KABK15 43 Simon Oosterhuis

confined but expressive colour combinations;

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Jonas Raps with some fine abstract paintings and

KABK15 45 Bjorn Barendse

Bjorn Barendse, who

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made a small painting installation, which

KABK15 47 Bjorn Barendse

worked like a decorated chapel.

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In the new part of the building (or rather the rebuilt part)

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Max de Waard presented his No Rules in Space, which

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was not photogenic at all, but

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all the more interesting (and it made some good noise).

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The installations by Mickey Yang

KABK15 56 Mickey Yang

seemed to deal with

KABK15 57 Mickey Yang

the peculiarity of the slowness of life processes, while

KABK15 58 Victor Breton van Groll
KABK15 59 Victor Breton van Groll

the objects of Victor Breton van Groll have come to a complete standstill in his presentation.

KABK15 60 Romy Muijrer
KABK15 61 Romy Muijrer
KABK15 62 Romy Muijrer

Romy Muijrers presented some good drawing.

KABK15 63 Rob van der Burg
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While back in the old building i couldn’t resist making some pictures of Rob van der Burg’s presentation about plants with electronically improving devices which would make their lives easier.

KABK15 65 Rob van der Burg

Leaving the building i was enthusiastic about a lot of what i had seen, but it wasn’t the absolute top year like last year’s exhibition. A good academy easily spoils the viewer.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters
Full review on Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch)