Robert Holyhead, Open Ground; Parts Project, The Hague

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Parts Project’s second show is a worthy successor to the first one in its sheer quality and uniqueness.

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The gallery has turned into a kind of white cube and exhibits works by British painter Robert Holyhead (1974).

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Holyhead’s first retrospective exhibition (yes, indeed! and right here, in The Hague!) shows him as a painter’s painter.

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Any painter who knows the craft also knows about the thickness or fluidity of the material, knows about oil, water and pigments and how they behave and knows how to tame them while using their characters and properties.

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Every painter also knows that this is a daily challenge.

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Another daily challenge for the painter is the pureness of the idea expressed in the painting and the way individual aesthetics become part of it.

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All these aspects come together in Holyhead’s paintings.

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The way the paint is brushed on the canvass and the fluidity of the oil tell the story.

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Shapes may remind you of windows or just lights in space.

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Geometric shapes find themselves floating in monochrome paintings, or wrapped up in paint.

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There are also water colours on show which more or less form the nucleus of Holyhead’s activities.

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His works are sensitive, nuanced but also expressive and as such it is almost an insult to make photographs of them.

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It is far better to go and see the real thing and take a very close look.

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I recommend this show to every painter who reads this.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Contents of the pictures courtesy Robert Holyhead and Parts Project

 

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #11

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House with more or less featureless façade, corner Thomas Schwenckestraat / Laan van Meerdervoort, probably built or rebuilt (3rd floor) in or around the 1920s and front door in style of the period.

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It once housed the office of a small organisation for illegal asylum seekers for which i was a board member until it was dissolved.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

All pictures taken in March 2016

 

Bertus Pieters

Joyce ter Weele, Achter het zichtbare (Behind the Visible); Vonkel gallery, The Hague

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Recently graduated artist Joyce ter Weele has an exhibition at Vonkel gallery at the moment.

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One of the smallest galleries in The Hague, Vonkel shows different aspects in Ter Weele’s work, some of them not lacking monumentality.

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Basic materials of Ter Weele’s works are photo negatives, especially of abandoned or more or less forgotten places.

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She recycles her materials both substantively and materially, bridging the gap between photo collage and drawing.

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The title Achter het zichtbare (Behind the Visible) is taken quite literally, regarding the windows and doors of the gallery.

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Ter Weele is digging into the meaninglessness of places around us, giving them new life by way of photographic remembrance, deconstruction and of abstraction.

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As such her work may see interesting developments to come.

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Keep it in mind!

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Content of pictures courtesy Joyce ter Weele and Vonkel gallery.

 

Bertus Pieters

Two monuments in Rotterdam

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The city centre of Rotterdam has two magnificent monuments that have to do with the destruction of the city by the Germans during WW II and the reconstruction after the war.

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Ossip Zadkine’s 1951 sculpture The Devastated City was donated by department store De Bijenkorf to the City of Rotterdam in 1953.

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Presently it is a state monument.

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In spite of its modernity it is a generally accepted and much respected monument.

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Apart from that, by accepting the donation in the 1950s the City of Rotterdam also affirmed its modernist agenda for the reconstruction of the city.

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It was repaired and restored in 2005/2007.

Rotterdam 10 Naum Gabo

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Naum Gabo’s 1950s sculpture was bought by De Bijenkorf department store and placed next to it in 1957.

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It has served as a monument to the modernist reconstruction of the city ever since.

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It is the biggest public constructivist monument in the world and in spite of its size it is a very elegant one.

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However, since the last two decades it is in urgent need of repair, as it is rusting away.

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The present owners IEF Capital and Bouwfonds are not willing to repair it as they think the municipality should also contribute financially, which it refuses.

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Nobody seems to be able or willing to break the deadlock.

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As such the dilapidating master piece has become a monument for present society where there is plenty of money but nobody wants to spend it on something non-lucrative.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

 

Bertus Pieters

MVRDV & Arno Coenen, Market Hall, Rotterdam

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Here you see Sint Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence church; Rotterdam’s only remnant of medieval architecture) mirrored in the façade of the new Market Hall.

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The Market Hall was opened in 2014 and was designed by MVRDV.

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It contains apartments, a market, pubs, restaurants and an underground car park.

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Every era has its temples or cathedrals and this is one for our own post-postmodern, consumerist society.

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Those who can afford it, buy their ways of life and those who can’t, can only stare in awe at the colossal mural, designed by Arno Coenen, called Horn Of Plenty.

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Indeed Coenen has given it the almost religious power of frescoed ceilings of Baroque churches.

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The idea is that you can worship nature as the predominating power of life and destination, while buying articles or just thinking about that.

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To be honest, the murals are marvelous, they really are.

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Somewhere in this abundance the tower of Sint Laurenskerk looms, giving the design an idea of timelessness.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

 

Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #10

0311 Badhuisweg

Office villa, Badhuisweg, built in the 1970s, in a more or less eclectic modernist style.

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It once housed the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

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As such, I’ve experienced the building for only one day as it was my last day as an employee for that organisation, and IOM had just moved in.

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It is an extremely good building to give a farewell speech in.

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Recently the building was occupied by squatters, since it is an obvious object for speculation, as many buildings near the coastline are.

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The squatters were ordered in a court procedure to leave.

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There seem to be plans to make it a hotel or to build apartments in it.

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Vacancy and speculation didn´t do the building much good.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

All pictures were taken in March 2016

 

Bertus Pieters

Ugo Rondinone, Vocabulary of Solitude; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

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As a child i didn’t trust clowns.

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That feeling didn’t change ever since.

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It also made me reluctant to visit Ugo Rondinone’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands in Boijmans Van Beuningen.

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However, I must admit I have to adjust my feelings, as indeed, Rondinone’s show Vocabulary of Solitude is quite impressive.

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Each clown is sitting or lying on the floor, its gaze inward.

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This is much more than the usual sentimental, crying clowns. This is a real image of solitude.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Contents of the pictures courtesy Ugo Rondinone, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

 

Bertus Pieters

James Lee Byars, works from the archives of Flor & Lieve Bex and Wies Smals; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

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Trying to see the details....

Trying to see the details….

I went to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, amongst others to see the James Lee Byars exhibition and possibly to write a review about it for Villa La Repubblica.

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However, the works were so badly presented that I was quite disappointed.

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The works are from the archives of Flor & Lieve Bex and Wies Smals and mainly consist of wonderfully shaped and folded letters and other works on paper.

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But if you want to look at them properly, your eyes have to fight the reflections of yourself and of the lighting from the ceiling in the glass of the showcases.

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The works on the walls are put up too high.

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If you want to deter the public from liking this very likable work, you should present it this way.

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Byars, who always strove for perfection, really deserves better.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Contents of pictures courtesy Flor & Lieve Bex, Wies Smals, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

 

Bertus Pieters