Ton of Holland, Medical Body Jewels; Galerie Ramakers, The Hague

With collages, embroidery and paint Ton of Holland (Ton Hoogerwerf, 1956) shows in Galerie Ramakers works in which the usually somewhat obnoxious world of disease becomes a world of symbolism and a kind of decadent aesthetics.

He does so unabashedly and with a sense of humour through which an understanding of the realities of our lives as biological creatures is felt.

It is fun, beautiful and maybe a bit painful.

The show is in its last week, so hurry up to see it all in real/unreal!

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Ton of Holland and Galrie Ramakers, Den Haag.


Bertus Pieters


Shen Wei, Between Blossoms; SinArts Gallery, The Hague

I visited SinArts Gallery to write an article for Villa La Repubblica about Shen Wei’s (1977) present show. Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

Shen Wei (5)

SinArts is a young gallery specialising in works by Chinese artists which is an absolute asset here.

Shen Wei (8)

For those who are following art photography Shen Wei may not be unknown, so it’s great to have his work now on show in The Hague.

Shen Wei (11)

Making pictures of a photo exhibition on a sunny autumn day is not the best of jobs, so it’s better to see the real thing, which i highly recommend.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Shen Wei and SinArts Gallery, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #50

Building with apartments and shops, Valeriusstraat corner Lübeckstraat, built in the 1950s to fill in the gap of the wasteland created by the German WWII Atlantic Wall.

Clearly the building is in post-WWII modernist style, even so it has two so-called gable stones (or wall stones) in its side façade in Lübeckstraat.

Traditionally gable stones contain some text or a relief explaining something about the owner or the history of the building.

In this case they show a lady, sitting in between two flowers while playing  a kind of harp. Both concrete gable stones are the same.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Picture 1 taken in March 2016, pictures 2,3 and 4 taken in May 2016, picture 5 taken in March 2017.


Bertus Pieters

Christie van der Haak, Elmar Trenkwalder; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Both artists in Maurits van de Laar’s gallery’s present exhibition, Elmar Trenkwalder (1959) and Christie van der Haak (1950), take ornamentation out of its generally presumed decorative context.

In Trenkwalder’s works ornaments become corporeal, especially in his more sculptural ceramics, whose uniformity in colour and material invites the viewer to look and scrutinise more closely.

It might have been a kind of a challenge to integrate Trenkwalder’s objects more with Van der Haak’s installation.

Now, although some of them are shown in the same space as Van der Haak’s, they still retain their full sovereignty, which is just as well.

Van der Haak’s installation contains wallpaper, paintings, ceramics, epoxy resin panels  and upholstered chairs.

Focusing may seem to be a bit puzzling but that is also part of the fun and charm as Van der Haak makes you look in different ways.

There is no difference in hierarchy between any object or its surroundings.

Some objects come out clearly, others seem to have a camouflage colour.

As always Van der Haak wonderfully combines a festive mood with the intimacy of the gaze.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Elmar Trenkwalder, Christie van der Haak and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Marin de Jong, Chronicle for the Millions; Twelve twelve Gallery, The Hague

Twelve twelve Gallery presently shows latest works by Marin de Jong (1976).

Working in our post-postmodern age De Jong is trying to find answers to the fast and disturbing de-rationalisation of society we are experiencing these days.

More than before people seem to be prepared to believe in irrational plots, nonsensical scare mongering and the vilification of any intelligence, including the arts.

De Jong reacts by covering up some of his works, literally closing them down for the expecting gaze, but he does so with humour.

As we have learnt from Christo, covering up doesn’t just hide the covered object, it also creates a new object.

De Jong shows how art will move on in spite of everything, like a fungus that doesn’t stop growing and multiplying.

Far from going underground, his works manifest themselves with character in spite of their subjects being internalised.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to Marin de Jong and Twelve twelve Gallery, Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

Jean Arp: The Poetry of Forms; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

Last Sunday i visited the Kröller-Müller Museum to see the Jean (or Hans) Arp (1886 – 1966) exhibition.

The works themselves are of course wonderful, there is an introductory movie with Arp being interviewed in Strasbourg (his city of birth), the explanatory texts on the walls are quite good and there are even poems by Arp (he was a very important and influential European poet as well) on the walls.

Poem by Tristan Tzara, illustration by Hans Arp

However, the way Arp talks about his works are completely contradicted by their presentation in the museum’s galleries.

All works, even the reliefs on the walls, are in glass showcases, which gives you the idea that you are looking at stuffed animals or at fossils, while Arp’s works should have the freedom to have a lot of space around them.

Moreover, each sculpture has its own pedestal.

It is of course understandable that these works have to be protected while the public is allowed to examine them at close distance, but now the show looks a bit, well, unpleasantly  bizarre.

On the other hand it is great to see so many examples of Arp’s works and of his artistic development, and every lover of 20th century art should see this show (the show is in its last week!).

This short blog photo report was made, thanks to the kind and cordial support of Rien Monshouwer and Karin van der Werff.

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Museum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo and the owners of the works.


Bertus Pieters