Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, dumb witnesses..,), A Gallery Named Sue, The Hague

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I was greeted by this lion carrying a sansevieria, made by Ignace Cami, when I visited the exhibition Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, Dumb Witnesses…) at A Gallery Named Sue, to write a review for the Villa La Repubblica blog. The exhibition is part of the show Vormidable, also on show at Lange Voorhout (see pictures here) and Museum Beelden aan Zee, with works by Flemish sculptors.

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The works are all very much suited to be shown in the intimate setting of the gallery apartment, like this film installation by Ruben Bellinkx about four turtles who are each tied to a leg of the same table and make the table move, in that way showing a moving sculpture and a special experience of it.

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Jonas Vansteenkiste shows the dangers of the security of dream houses and

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a heap of houses also seem to be fit to light the fire in the hearth.

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Anton Cotteleer (who also showed work in The Hague last year, as you can see here) is well represented in this exhibition, amongst others by this

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goose keeper, or rather goose holder which

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seems to be falling on a table, dashing all hopes for an agreeable decoration.

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An earlier work by Cotteleer is about the dubious kitsch that

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embellishes Flemish lives, which he presents in almost postmodern museum-like way.

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The intimacy of the gallery strongly adds to the appearance of the works and

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even the Karel Appel (a kind of surprise combination the gallery is very good at) on the wall might make you feel at home in an art loving place. But

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next to that colourful painting is a building by Vansteenkiste which seems to be multiplying like a diatom and

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there are two heads on a table by Cotteleer, decorative and colourful like the painting, or

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are they?

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Cami uses two sansevieria leaves for a kind of fossilised crusaders’ sword, mixing typically west-European (or Flemish) heraldry with more petty-bourgeois Flemish symbolism.

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Passing the jackdaw by Dutch artist Noortje Zijlstra (one of the gallery’s artists) i was leaving this very well arranged and somewhat absurdist exhibition

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greeted again by Cami’s failed-heroic Flemish lion and Flemish sansevieria (very Flemish but both deriving from Africa).

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

See more pictures and the full review (in Dutch) here.

Bertus Pieters

Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair

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The Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair seems to be on its way to become obsolete. Yes, some good galleries are present and some good artists are represented, but it fails to be an alternative to the Art Rotterdam Fair.

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Too much art on show seems to be made to suit the modern or postmodern living room. It seems to be made for buyers who want to feel assured about their identity (not to be confused with individuality).

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Everything is there: some expressionism, a bit geometric abstract, a little post-modern etc., to be short, nothing special.

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But happily there are exceptions. Probably one of the most remarkable projects is Te Koop (For Sale) by Benjamin Li represented by A Gallery Named Sue.

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At Livingstone Gallery painter Jan Wattjes shows an interesting, almost romantic video loop.

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At With Tsalling Gallery Jans Muskee has a solo show, which is quite attractive.

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Olaf Mooij shows his DJ. Wiel (DJ Wheel), which i personally prefer to real life DJs.

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Apart from these interesting things there is more than just boring lifestyle junk. The No Walls presentation is probably more interesting than the greater part of the fair.

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Another aspect which adds to the mediocrity of the fair is the lack of international representation. So please, for the next time, do it better or just don’t do it! It all made me long for fried eggs with ham and cheese (an uitsmijter) which i ate in Witte de Withstraat.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Bertus Pieters

Art The Hague, Fokker Terminal, The Hague

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Art The Hague is quite a small fair but it takes some time to see it all. There is a kind of limbo before you enter the real art fair,

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which gives you the idea that things are not really important in that vestibule. The Hague Historical Museum shows some pictures of its sympathetic project Den Haag, Stad van aankomst (The Hague, City of Arrival) by Conny Luhulima and Geert van Kesteren, while

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WTC-Gallery shows some expressive postmodernity to fit modern suburbia, with amongst others this diorama by Demiak. And further on?

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Well, they probably forgot to put this sculpture by Joachim De Block in its right place and left it in limbo to be ignored by the visitors. And on entering the great hall

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you might think you entered a luxury poster shop, but

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do turn left to Seasons Gallery to take a look at Gerard Verdijk’s paintings. Verdijk (1934-2005) was one of the best painters in The Hague.

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Work by Lauren Hillebrandt at With Tsjalling, playing with colour, shape and meaning.

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Gallery Project 0.2 shows Denis Rouvre who always uses the same clair-obscure, presented by the gallery in an aesthetic, stark and clean way. A modern way of having trophies on your wall. But

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why do i think Rouvre’s work is slick and this drawing by Arike Gill (at Vonkel Gallery) isn’t?

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Talking about slick photography (and there is quite a lot on show), you can’t say Merijn Koelink’s pictures are slick. He concentrated on the use of LED in public places at night. Colour, light and dark tell a story here with more aspects. Koelink is a fresh graduate of the The Hague Royal Academy (at A Gallery Named Sue).

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Helder Gallery shows, amongst others, sculptures by Willem Speekenbrink and paintings by Jakob de Jonge who will both have an exhibition at the gallery soon.

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This year some Belgian galleries are represented at the fair. Amongst others Eastmen Gallery with works by Kamagurka and

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by Gommaar Gilliams, a painter who isn’t very well known in this country.

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Nouvelles Images gallery shows, amongst others, geometric abstract works by Cor van Dijk (very fine sculpture) and

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Ditty Ketting (painting).

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Some galleries give special attention to just one or two artists. Others who don’t, have sometimes difficulties in showing where their priorities are, like Van Hoof Gallery (is it just aesthetics? funny but silent pets?),

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Chiefs and Spirits (art from Africa? art from elsewhere? and why exactly this choice?)

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or Het Bouwhuis (the aesthetics of nature? or aesthetics based on nature?).

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Compared to these Bob Smit Gallery has no qualms showing what it stands for, as these works by Stefan Gross show.

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At Mirta Demare gallery Sandro Setola silently steals the show, while

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in the next booth Buro Rotterdam has a small but very fine solo presentation of works by Olaf Mooij who gave cars a different, more organic life (and who also made the sculpture you can see on the very first picture of this posting).

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Next year herman de vries wil represent the Netherlands at the Venice Biennial and as such he has been given a booth of his own.

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That you can perfectly well show quite a few different artists in one booth without losing your identity as a gallery is shown by Ramakers gallery

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and Heden, the place in The Hague where you can borrow art. Heden also

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shows work by Anne Forest who will have an exhibition there soon.

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Livingstone gallery pays some extra attention to small but very fine works by Jan Wattjes, while

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Dom’Arte shows amongst others works by Marc Mulders and

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Han Klinkhamer.

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But the best prominent and defining features of Art The Hague are the informal solo presentations, away from the egalitarian dictatorship of the white cube.

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On the ground floor is a presentation of works by sculptors who graduated from Belgian Academies this year. They all exhibit interesting work. I’ll give an impression here without comments: Jean-Loup Leclerq,

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Marjorie Kapelusz,

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Clara Gallet,

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Jeroen Van der Fraenen,

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Joachim De Block and

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Ruben Podevyn.

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On the second floor there are some special presentations by galleries,

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again without much comment: Livingstone shows Simon Schrikker’s marvellous Pulpo series together with the stop motion video he made with it;

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Bob Smit Gallery shows that being over the top says more about art and society than just being slick,

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as shown here by Pieter W. Postma;

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Helder gallery has an impressive combination of works by Willem Speekenbrink (sculpture),

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Jochem Rotteveel (paintings with duct tape) and

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Roland Sohier (drawings); and

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Ramakers gallery shows Joncquil’s fine series 60 Ways to Hold a Rope.

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Although the exhibition has no real surprises, this year’s edition is stronger than last year’s,

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but it could be much stronger.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Sommernachmittag, A Gallery Named Sue, The Hague

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While life outside goes on,

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inside A Gallery Named Sue in The Hague life takes a different turn, combining 19th century Dutch painting and today’s art in the exhibition Sommernachmittag.

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Matthias Grothus’ (1982) work Methamorphose is omnipresent with its bird sounds,

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creating a strange acoustic background for H. W. Mesdag’s (1841 – 1915) moonlit seascape of the 1890s.

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Mesdag’s painting in visual rhyme with a photograph from the Night View series by Reggie Voigtländer (1966) (far left), The Blouse She Wore last Summer by Kevin Bauer (1987) (left) and a View of Dordrecht by J.B. Jongkind (1819 – 1891) (right).

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Apart from Mesdag and Jongkind there are some works from the Dutch romantic era on show, amongst them works by Andreas Schelfhout (1787 – 1870)

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and his pupil Wijnand Nuijen (1813 – 1839).

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These romantics are flanking a small work by Brigitte Spiegeler.

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Her works seeming to deal with inner space, Spiegeler is in the right place here.

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And there ‘s another unexpected meeting!

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Kevin Bauer’s work deals with both the inside and the outside, but

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in Dario Bongiovanni’s (1984) work the inside is reduced to a few lines and corners (in the background a small painting by Cornelis Springer).

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Bongiovanni’s work is combined with a sculpture by Eugène Dodeigne (1923), which is part of the annual The Hague Sculpture show.

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The main showground for The Hague Sculpture is the Lange Voorhout. But on its own and in combination with the works of Sommernachmittag this work by Dodeigne has more impact than the whole show at the Lange Voorhout.

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Once noticed you can almost feel its presence.

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Five photographs of Reggie Voigtländer’s series of six Night Views are on show here. The missing one is presently at the annual Zomerexpo (Summer Exhibition) at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

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Works by Arike Gill (1983) also give a visualisation of inner space.

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In summer, if not closed, galleries present the public with group shows. However, making a good group show is an art in itself.

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Sommernachmittag is a very good one. The 19th century paintings are from private collections while the contemporary works are for sale.

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They make a remarkable combination. The space in the gallery is good and well used. And the opened windows make a connection with the outside world.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

 

Bertus Pieters