Façades of The Hague #49

Façade with turrets, Laan van Meerdervoort, built probably around 1905 in the characteristic decorative style of the period. The right-hand turret has been restored in a somewhat cheapish way. The two parts of the building have clearly (had) different owners, as the differences in the renovations show.

In the right-hand part a Jewish merchant and his family (wife and one son) lived until 1942, when they tried to flee to Switzerland but were caught by the Nazi’s in France and were murdered in Auschwitz.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

All pictures were taken in March 2016


Bertus Pieters


Jesper Just, Continuous Monuments; West at Huis Huguetan, The Hague

About the sculpture by Jesper Just, presently in public space at Lange Voorhout, i wrote an article for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

The public sculpture is part of Just’s project Continuous Monuments at West in Huis Huguetan (Huguetan House).

Just has used the same kind of chalky concrete blocks to make walls in the small 18th century palace as an environment for four of his video loops, as well as a work specially made for the venue.

Well, in fact everything looks very much made for the venue in spite of the fact that the videos were conceived at different times.

All videos have to do with walls and architecture.

They become the visible power of ideas, social and political, and they are all confronted by lone individuals, women who seem to bend the power of these walls to their own creativity.

Videos, sounds and walls blend in a very special way in the architecture of Huis Huguetan.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Jesper Just and West, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Sam Lock, Presence; Twelve twelve gallery, The Hague

Sam Lock (1973) shows works on paper in Twelve twelve gallery.

For a painter who works in structures and layers, using water based media, charcoal, chalk etc on paper is a special challenge.

Every movement of the hand and the mind can be traced, which some may describe as ‘more spontaneous’.

But, as Lock shows, there is nothing more or less spontaneous in working on paper.

Lock’s way of working may remind you of Michelangelo’s idea that the shape of a sculpture only needed to be liberated from the marble.

Lock gives you the idea that the concept of the drawing  was already there in the paper, it just needed to be liberated, while in fact you see a co-operation between mind and material.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of the photographs courtesy to Sam Lock and Twelve twelve gallery, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Edward Krasinski; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

I visited the great retrospective exhibition of Edward Krasiński’s work at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

The presentation at the Stedelijk is a more or less chronological one which i followed.

Those who have never heard of Krasiński (1925–2004) should see this exhibition absolutely (as should those who have).

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to the owners of the works and to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Bertus Pieters

Everything We Could Not Keep, works by Eva Spierenburg and Elsbeth Ciesluk; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Eva Spierenburg

The title of the show has a bit of a melancholic undertone, but that is where the absurdism of both artists, Eva Spierenburg (1987) and Elsbeth Ciesluk (1986), leads to.

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Both artists in this very well conceived show at Maurits van de Laar gallery seem to be in search of things somewhere in between being materially not there, and lost from mind the moment you think of it.

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Spierenburg does so with paintings, drawings, videos and sculptural works and Ciesluk mainly with text works.

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Spierenburg’s works have a wide range of aspects, but usually the human body is central to it.

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Eva Spierenburg

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Ciesluk’s works are in between poetry and visual art.

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

One of her works was made on the wall of the gallery.

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

Elsbeth Ciesluk

I was very late in visiting this show, the finissage will be next Sunday, so do hurry to see this fine exhibition.

Elsbeth Ciesluk

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to the artists and to Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Skulptur Projekte, Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia); Day 2

Click here to read the review of Skulptur Projekte 2017 on Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch). Click here to see pictures of the first day of our visit to Münster on Villa Next Door.

The next morning we took a fresh look at what we still wanted to see.

As the Cherry Column by Thomas Schütte (1954) of the 1987 edition of Skulptur Projekte was round the corner we went to see that one. In the small square where Schütte’s cherries are, there is a sandpit at the moment, where children are playing in the sunshine.

En route we visited St. Lambert’s Church, originally built late 14th century and first half of the 15th century with a late 19th century neo-gothic spire.

During WWII the spire, roof and choir were damaged, but the church was reconstructed after the war in the 1950s.

From gothic and neo-gothic to a disco to celebrate German super kitsch, well, what is the difference?

Brazilian duo Bárbara Wagner (1980) and Benjamin de Búrca (1975) made a film about the German Schlager phenomenon and show it in the Elephant Lounge disco.

Empty by daytime the disco has a strangely artificial atmosphere, the kitschy atmosphere where visitors celebrate kitsch both to forget and in recognition of daily hardships.

And then, passing the originally 13th century Apostelkirche (Apostle Church) to the Theater Münster, one of the first modern theatres built in Germany after WWII, to see Matrix by Studio CAMP, about which i commented in the review at VLR.

Passing along the cathedral we had a closer look at the bronze crucifix group by Bert Gerresheim (1935) we saw the evening before.

It was erected in 2004 and has to do with the catholic history of the city, presenting historical figures of Münster.

Clearly the hanging Christ was inspired by the Isenheim Altar by Matthias Grünewald of 1515 (Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar).

Near the museum you may find a work by Richard Tuttle (1941), Art and Music I and II of the 1987 edition.

They look like apostrophes or like F-clefs and are positioned on either side of a wall.

They are in a more or less anonymous alley in the city centre.

They look very unobtrusive.

On the wall somebody tells you that pornography is violence.

On the floor there happened to be more objects that reminded me of works by Tuttle (an artist i highly esteem, by the way).

Not far away from there, on a lawn alongside the late 16th century (and partly very late gothic) Petrikirche (St. Peter’s Church), is Cut Dolomite by Ulrich Rückriem (1938) from the very first edition of Skulptur Projekte in 1977.

As usual Rückriem’s method of simply cutting and rearranging a rock never seems to fail in its monumentality.

The work easily becomes one with its environment and gives it strength.

Very near along the River Aa is a very small but wonderful work by Giovanni Anselmo (1934):

Shortened Heavens of the 1987 edition.

Verkürzter Himmel (Shortened Heavens) is engraved on top, almost defying everything over it, and bringing Heaven back to Earth, so to say.

From the same edition is The Meadow Smiles or The Face in the Wall by Harald Klingelhöller (1954) in the courtyard of the law faculty of the city’s university.

It exists of mirrors and yew trees behind it.

You may or may not think it is in the shape of a smile, but it brings a smile to anyone’s face anyway, without being explicitly humorous or hilarious.

The many-sidedness of Klingelhöller’s work may also signify a difference between the law faculty and the theology faculty where Anselmo’s work is.

Here some tourist is trying to fix me into his holiday album.

Not all art of the present edition is convincing, like this cartoon-like work by Sany (Samuel Nyholm, 1973), which seems to be funny.

Back to the museum there is a new encounter with the fine building and Rückriem’s Granite (Normandy) (1985), here in combination with Moore’s sculpture, Bonin’s and Burr’s installation and over it Gerdes’ Angst (see the report of day 1).

At the car park (we decided to take the car to see the rest) there is a fresco on a façade called 500 Jahre Kolonialisierung und Widerstand (500 Years of Colonisation and Resistance) made in the Columbus year 1992 by an untraceable Colombian artist called Saúl Gutiérrez.

I wrote in my review on VLR about this work by Schütte, which is one of my favourites.

This is not art but the air conditioning of the LBS building, but even so it’s quite impressive.

In the building Hito Steyerl (1966) presents her HellYeahWeFuckDie.

I like her essays but i haven’t been a fan of her visual art and i’m afraid this work didn’t change my mind.

Maybe it would be interesting as an illustration of an essay.

In the park nearby is the 2007 edition’s We are still and reflective by Martin Boyce (1967). Its straight lines may remind you of a jigsaw puzzle, but also of the abstracted shapes of trees.

It’s a wonderful work somewhere in between a drawing and a sculpture and it works well with the shades of trees over it.

Again, not an official work of art but under the circumstances anything may become a sculpture in Münster.

The winter sports hall with the magnificent installation (installation doesn’t seem to be the right word for this living diorama)  After ALife Ahead by Pierre Huyghe (1962) was our last stop in Münster.

I wrote extensively about it in the VLR review.

I hope to live to see the next edition of Skulptur Projekte in 2027!

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy top the artists

Many thanks to Jean van Wijk and Marion de Korte.

Bertus Pieters

Skulptur Projekte, Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia); Day 1

Click here to read the review of Skulptur Projekte on Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch). Here is a report in pictures of our first day in Münster.

We started out in a less glamorous venue: a tunnel next to the railway station where Emeka Ogboh (1977) has installed a soundscape based on the work of the famous blind American musician Moondog (1916-1999), who died in Münster.

Although it’s an interesting work the tunnel has been turned into a bicycle parking which doesn’t leave enough space for both pedestrians and cyclists who use the tunnel. Also the recorded spoken word was hardly understandable because of the tunnel acoustics.

In the mean time there was enough graffiti etc. to see on the walls.

Like many old German cities that were destroyed during WWII there is a sense of remorse and grief in Münster’s monuments. In the heyday of modernism and abstraction (1960) this work (Unteilbares Deutschland / Undividable Germany) was made by Anni Buschkötter (1913-2010) in an attempt to combine abstraction with content.

Next to it is Nietzsche’s Rock by Justin Matherly (1972).

Not one of the strongest works of  this year’s edition, as it tries to create a kind of philosophical profundity seemingly only by its title.

Nearby is the monument for Paul Wulf (1921-1999) by Silke Wagner (1968). Wulf was a local anti-Nazi hero, who was forcedly sterilised by the Nazi’s for being mentally deranged.

The statue is being used as a kind of advertising column for information about Wulf from the digital archive http://www.uwz-archiv.de/Paul-Wulf.6.0.html?&L=1 . It is a work of the 2007 edition.

In front of and behind the 18th century Erbdrostenhof (Hereditary Bailiff’s Court) is the work Privileged Points by Nairy Baghramian (1971), about which i wrote in the VLR review.

Just behind the Erbdrostenhof is the Clemenskirche (St. Clement’s Church), originally built in the 18th century after a design by J.C. Schlaun.

After destruction in WWII the present building is a rebuilt copy of the 1950s and 60s.

In the Dominikanerkirche (Dominican Church) was an uninteresting show of local art. The church itself is 18th century, was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

As the trip from The Hague was long and the weather was hot we needed some extra liquid to keep us going, meanwhile enjoying local creativity.

Prinzipalmarkt (Main Market) with its post WWII façades and with Lambertikirche (St. Lambert’s Church).

St.-Paulus-Dom (St. Paul’s Cathedral) at Domplatz (Cathedral Square) has an originally Romanesque late 12th century westwork, which was heavily restored after WWII.

The rest of the cathedral was built from the 13th century onwards in Gothic style and is said to be still quite original.


In the LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur (formerly the Westphalian Landesmuseum) is the impressive and strangely moving installation Tender tender by Michael Dean (1977) about which i have written extensively on VLR.

It is so full of detail that it is difficult to get away from it.

Over the atrium is the 1997 edition’s Untitled (Books) (I sincerely hope this hype of saying a work has no title and then giving it a title between brackets anyway is over now) by Rachel Whiteread (1963), a wonderful work, both unobtrusive and monumental.

The 1970s architectural additions to the museum are perfectly in the modernist style of that time, but also very open and quite a relief in between all the historicising  façades of the city.

Next to the museum, in the Westfälische Kunstverein, is the exhibition Surplus of Myself by Tom Burr (1963) in which Burr seems to reinvigorate the language of minimalism with the personal.

It looks like a somewhat belated postmodern reaction in these post-postmodern days, but even so it works well in the exhibition space of the Kunstverein.

Not far from the museum in a small car park is Sculpture by the duo Peles Empire, a wonderful piece about which i have written on VLR.

It took some time to find Angst by Ludger Gerdes (1954-2008).

It was originally made for the Fort Asperen open air exhibition in 1989 in the Netherlands in the Germany Year. Now it looks over Cosima von Bonin’s and Tom Burr’s Benz Bonin Burr (about which i’ve written on VLR), with a sculpture by Henry Moore (1898-1986).

This is not Christo but part of our view from an otherwise fine terrace.

We were in dire need of a hearty German dinner after a lot of sauntering and strolling along. The Schweinefleisch (porc) and Dicke Bohnen (thick beans) tasted excellent!

And with an evening stroll back to the hotel along the cathedral,

one of the originally Four Gateways by Daniel Buren (1938), a relic of the 1987 edition,

the Lambertikirche and

the Museum of Lacquer Art, we ended the day. Day 2 will follow in the next blog report!

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to the artists.


Bertus Pieters