Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Attempts to Read the World (Differently); Stroom, The Hague

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In a very knowledgeable and interesting essay by Simon Delobel accompanying the present show with works by Jean Katambayi Mukendi (1974) at Stroom, the suggestion is made to call the artist’s work ‘outsider art.’

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However, that would be the easiest way to marginalise it, in spite of the status outsider art has claimed since the invention of that label in 1972.

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It should be recognised (and clearly Delobel and Stroom are doing so) that there are places in this world where daily life has to be lived, and sometimes even survived, in its extremes and where art has to be reinvented from scratch under these circumstances.

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Such a process is more ‘inside’ than ‘outside’.

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That opens possibilities to reconsider art and its functions and purposes.

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Katambayi Mukendi, born, raised, living and working in Lubumbashi – second biggest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and capital of the copper mining province of Upper Katanga – , started out as an electrician and a mathematician.

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His works as presented at Stroom (as part of his residency in The Hague), can be seen as thinking processes about society and the world of an artist-teacher-student.

Max de Waard

Max de Waard

He is the third artist in the series Attempts to Read the World (Differently). The others are Max de Waard (1992) and Monira Al Qadiri (1983) whose shows i missed unfortunately, but a work of each is still on show.

Monira Al Qadiri

Monira Al Qadiri

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of the pictures courtesy to the artists and Stroom Den Haag.

 

Bertus Pieters

Raúl Ortega Ayala, The Zone; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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Loss causes wounds, both psychologically and physically.

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A wound can be seen as a trace of suffering.

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Traces, as far as they are visible, are subjected to aesthetics, whether you like it or not, and as such they are subjects for the visual arts.

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Absence is a manifestation of loss, and so becomes part of the traces of loss.

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These closely related aspects come together in The Zone, a project by Raúl Ortega Ayala (1973), presented by Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

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The Zone is a video, lasting more than half an hour, made in the restricted area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.

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However, the film is not just another expression of morbid aesthetics or another tear-jerking documentary about human suffering.

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In fact it is very much alive.

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History becomes very much part of the present and becomes timeless as well as time-worn when you see the different seasons in the area and the people who tell their memories and walk around in the places where they once lived, worked and enjoyed themselves.

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The Zone is supplemented with photographs which act like a decor and, as they are very well presented, act as a kind of vestibule to the video.

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In the front part of the gallery Ortega shows three renditions of x-rayed pictures.

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Under the paintings by Hodges, Van Gogh and the Le Nains are completely different pictures, which are lost for humanity but are being made visible again, with traces of the present paintings over them.

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Again they are traces of absence, of loss. It is great how Dürst Britt & Mayhew changed their gallery again to present this work, so, go there and take your time to see it all!

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Raúl Ortega Ayala and Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

 

Bertus Pieters

Arie van Geest, The Broken Promised Land; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

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Arie van Geest (1948) has been very prolific last few years and the rich harvest is on show in Livingstone Gallery at the moment.

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What seem to be more or less innocent fairy tale scenes at first sight, turn out to be far more realistic ones.

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Van Geest uses as his key players small objects he collected himself, that refer to our archetypal myths that frame our morals or even sometimes our reasons to live for.

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The objects may be represented in their individual full glory or together with others in a meeting or even in a parade.

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Together with plants and weeds, which act more or less as the jungle of life, they may refer to titles and ideas of “high” and “low” culture that underscore both their archetypal qualities and their individual lyricism.

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Take your time looking at these paintings, they are fine, many and each contains its own story and dispositions.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Arie van Geest and Livingstone Gallery.

 

Bertus Pieters

Peter Bogers, Bodyscanning; Parts Project, The Hague

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Bodyscanning, the show with works by Peter Bogers (1956), Parts Project’s fourth exhibition, is in its last week.

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So if you haven’t seen it yet, you should go and take a look now, for it’s a great and intriguing show.

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It is also a very physical show, both sensational and intimate.

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Don’t be afraid, you won’t be touched physically, but Bogers gets as near to you as possible without touching.

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All works are based on the physicality of the body and its subtle ways of communication, the body as a world of wonder.

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Historically Bodyscanning is also interesting as it exhibits works from the late 1970s up to very recent and as such it also shows the development of reproducing moving pictures throughout the last decades.

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Parts Project’s presentation of the works is again wonderful, giving full attention to each individual work, but also finding a way of dialogue between the works.

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In a way the show almost becomes one big body including all the necessary equipment.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Peter Bogers and Parts Project

Bertus Pieters

Tamara Dees, The Open Boat; Twelve/twelve Gallery, The Hague

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Twelve/twelve gallery has its first one woman show with works by Tamara Dees (1971).

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Within the small space of the new gallery Dees shows very different works on the same theme – boats and seafaring – which are all at once touching, humorous, real and unreal.

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There are installations, objects, photo works and a video work.

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Ships and shipping have been metaphoric themes throughout art history – just think of Jheronimus Bosch, Dutch 17th century seascapes, Delacroix, Géricault and Turner – and part of that heritage is present in the show.

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Thinking about the small space of the gallery it might be even more surprising that the show is also about space, whether it is the space of thought or the actual vanished or hidden space of a ship.

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[Click on the pictures to enhance]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of the pictures courtesy to Tamara Dees and Twelve/twelve Gallery

 

Bertus Pieters

Façades of The Hague #28

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Apartment block Stadhouderslaan corner Lübeckstraat, early 1950s.

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Stadhouderslaan, the grand late 19th century avenue running from The Hague to Scheveningen harbour, was partly destroyed during WW II by the Germans for the Atlantic Wall, as was part of the infrastructure around it.

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The area was redesigned by architect Willem Dudok after the war and different architects designed blocks of flats.

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I’m not sure who was responsible for this particular one but its style is modernist with a touch of neoclassicism.

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© Villa Next Door 2017

All pictures were taken in March 2016

 

Bertus Pieters

Rolf.fr & Frank van der Salm: Out of time, out of space; Galerie Helder, The Hague

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To end 2016 and to open 2017 Helder gallery shows objects by Studio Rolf.fr and photography by Frank van der Salm.

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Helder lives up to its motto ‘art and living’.

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Rolf.fr not just shows objects made from themselves or from other objects, but also alternative furniture.

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Frank van der Salm’s photography literally gives an extra dimension to Rolf.fr’s furniture, the out-of-space-dimension so to say.

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Moreover both Rolf and Van der Salm give an alternative and very inspiring view on art and living that may put our fragmented daily reality into a new order.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of pictures courtesy to Rolf.fr, Frank van der Salm and Galerie Helder.

 

Bertus Pieters