Sean Cornelisse, Dissident Peace; …ism, The Hague

A handshake of peace and friendship by Sean Cornelisse (right) with a visitor.

Only during the weekend (14-15 July) Sean Cornelisse shows his project Dissident Peace at …ism  project space (another relatively new artistic development in The Hague).

‘“Why are you here?” I asked him. “Why disrupt the serenity of this assembly with your sinister presence?” “I come,” he replied, “from a far away land, might find here the God of law, justice and peace, whose altar is said to be in The Hague.”’

‘Mister Tjoune, one of the Koreans who protested against not inviting Korea for the Peace Conference, has suddenly died Sunday night in his hotel at Wagenstraat in this city. He had an abscess on his cheek; this was taken away operatively. The operation very much overwhelmed Mister Tjoune, and he died of the effects. Already today his burial took place at “Eikenduinen.” No mourning relatives, no sympathising band of friends followed the small funeral procession. The only participants were the first member of the deputation, the vice-minister Yi-Sang-Sul, and the owner of the hotel where both stayed.’

The project is partially an homage to the Second Peace Convention of The Hague of 1907 and in particular to the still unclarified death on July 14th of the Korean would be representative Yi Jun, whose place of death at Wagenstraat is now the Yi Jun Peace Museum, which has become a place of pilgrimage to Korean visitors.

…ism’s project room has been refurbished in the style of the Yi Jun Museum and Korean tea is served with Korean biscuits.

Surabayan Commercial Paper ; State- and Literary Daily Paper of Dutch East India.

Cornelisse shows copies of local newspapers of the time, both reporting about and critical of the Convention, and with pictures of the Korean troika who wanted to take part but were refused at the instigation of the Japanese.

Cornelisse mixes the facts and the fiction with calligraphy somewhat reminiscent of Henri Michaux and with a fine touch of absurdism.

The Hague, July 3rd 2018.
With this despatch the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers its apologies, in name of the cabinet and the King. It acknowledges that it has discredited the People´s Republic of Korea during the second peace convention at The Hague, June 1907. Recognising herewith to have an interest in the territory of Dutch East India. As an expression of goodwill we present all documentation about this to the National Archive for free.

Go there in peace, i’d say!

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2018

Content of all photographs courtesy to Sean Cornelisse and …ism, 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 . 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

Analog Borders; Grafische Werkplaats Den Haag (The Hague Graphic Studio)

Analog Border 01 Lisa Blaauwbroek

Analog Borders Festival is a small but fine festival for artists and designers initiated by Grafische Werkplaats Den Haag (The Hague Graphic Studio).


Part of it is an exhibition, open to the public, with works by different artists made in the Studio, exploring the borders of traditional graphic techniques.

Analog Border 03 Zeger Reyers

Analog Border 04 Zeger Reyers

For Zeger Reyers this was a good opportunity to see how flatfish would look when used as printing material.

Analog Border 05 Kok Pistolet

Designer duo Kok Pistolet try to show the individual expression of preparing an etching plate.

Analog Border 06 Navid Nuur

Navid Nuur used lithographic stone to make a piece of ceramics and

Analog Border 08 Navid Nuur

citric acid for screen printing these pterodactyls.


Very different works by artists like Stijn Peeters and


Charlotte van Winden are presented brotherly together.

Analog Border 11 Stijn Peeters

Analog Border 12 Stijn Peeters

Peeters being the great etching professional he is, mixing Delacroix with themes of the present and




Van Winden diving into the world of subcultures with almost mercurial energy.

Analog Border 16 Lisa Blaauwbroek

Analog Border 17 Lisa Blaauwbroek

Lisa Blaauwbroek has experimented with skin cream connecting reproduction with finiteness.

Analog Border 18 Peter Zuur

Analog Border 19 Peter Zuur

To Peter Zuur gum printing is the base of his works on show.


The small exhibition shows very diverse works but with a constant high quality, in a studio setting.


[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Contents of all pictures courtesy the artists and Grafische Werkplaats Den Haag


Bertus Pieters

MVRDV, The Stairs; Rotterdam


To celebrate 75 years of reconstruction after the devastation of the Second World War (the city centre was almost flattened by the Germans on May 14th 1940) the City of Rotterdam has organized some events.

The Stairs 02

One of them is The Stairs, a huge flight of stairs on scaffolding to climb one of the landmarks of modernist reconstruction in the city, the Groothandelsgebouw (Wholesale Building), built in 1951 by Hugh Maaskant (1907-1977).

The Stairs 03

The Stairs 04

The Stairs 05

The Stairs is a project by MVRDV. I climbed The Stairs this week and it gives a great view of Stationsplein (Station square) with Centraal Station (Central Station) the brand new and wonderful railway station.

The Stairs 06

The Stairs 07

The Stairs 08

The Stairs 09

The Stairs 10

The Stairs 11

The panorama’s from the roof top are wonderful, giving a good view of the still reconstructing and expanding city from modernism to post-postmodernism.

The Stairs 12

The Stairs 13

The Stairs 14

The Stairs 15

The Stairs 16

The Stairs 17

It also grants you a very special view of Maaskant’s great building.

The Stairs 18

The Stairs 19

But finest of all is probably the scaffolding itself, just as it is, without any decorations.

The Stairs 20

The Stairs 21

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]


Bertus Pieters