Vormidable, Contemporary Flemish Sculpture, Lange Voorhout and Kloosterkerk, The Hague

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The present edition of the annual sculpture exhibition (under the auspices of Museum Beelden aan Zee) at the Lange Voorhout is a far better one than those of the last few years, in spite of it looking quite modest. The theme is sculptures from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and it’s titled Vormidable (don’t mind the Dutch pun; vorm = form, shape).

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There is a good variety of different aspects which seem to add to each other without giving the idea of a showcase of different and unrelated things. That’s quite an achievement, regarding the restricted possibilities for a sculpture show in this most lofty avenue.

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On one end the exhibition opens (or ends) with a guardian angel by Johan Tahon. As with some other works of Tahon the angel is double headed. One could say that shows the split of each human being in a material and a spiritual personality. Tahon’s spirituality

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is followed by representation in Wesley Meuris’ Entrance Kit for Sculpture Garden III. The information panel says: “Meuris’s intention is to show

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that the link between past and present has been lost.” I think the opposite might as well be true, but it is undoubtedly a work in its proper place.

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Sofie Muller’s Jesse might easily become one of the audience’s darlings. And in this case darlings shouldn’t be killed.

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The boy with his trace of flowering begonias may even remind you of Hansel (from Gretel) who left a trace of pebbles to find his way home.

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Leon Vranken deconstructed a decorated pedestal with wood

V 09 Leon Vranken

which may remind you of the transience of all seemingly stable things. And then,

V 10 Luk Van Soom
V 11 Luk Van Soom

far from the sea, there is Luk Van Soom’s high wave, both beautiful and dangerous.

V 12 Luk Van Soom
V 13 Luk Van Soom

Now it becomes clear why we need Tahon’s guardian angel.

V 14 Fred Eerdekens

Fred Eerdekens’ Landscape seems to be a bit

V 15 Fred Eerdekens

out of place at the Lange Voorhout in the shade of the green trees.

V 16 Tinka Pittoors
V 17 Tinka Pittoors

Tinka Pittoors’ White Migrant (Harry) seems to be a bit out of place here too.

V 18 Leo Copers
V 19 Leo Copers

For those who want to repent publicly there is Leo Copers’ VIPAG (Vrijwillige Individuele Publieke Automatische Gevangenis,

V 20 Leo Copers
V 21 Leo Copers

Voluntary Individual Public Automatic Jail). I haven’t seen anybody jailing him or herself publicly yet, but

V 22 Leo Copers
V 23 Leo Copers

the idea itself is a wonderful work about the absurdity of morals in our times of blaming and shaming.

V 24 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 25 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 26 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Probably not accidentally near the prison is a fallen dictator by Philip Aguirre y Otegui. The dictator wasn’t on a very high plinth, so as a symbol of fallen power the sculpture is quite obscure.

V 27 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 28 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Also obscure is his anonymity, one could think of any leader of the present or the past seeking the pinnacle of the lowest in human character.

V 29 Renato Nicolodi

Next to the dictator appropriately stands Scrinium 01 by Renato Nicolodi, an architectural model that

V 30 Renato Nicolodi

may remind you of the cold sternness of dictatorial architectural aesthetics of the 20th century.

V 31 Peter De Cupere
V 32 Peter De Cupere

According to the accompanying text the smell around Peter De Cupere’s Earth Car should remind us of the smell of the Tuscan countryside (more on Peter de Cupere on VND here) .

V 33 Peter De Cupere
V 34 Peter De Cupere

Well, it isn’t really an advertorial for Tuscany; the smell is almost sickening. But for the remainder it is again an installation in the best absurdist traditions (which is of course positive).

V 35 Caroline Coolen
V 36 Caroline Coolen

There is a sense of absurdity in Caroline Coolen’s Shepherd too (more on Caroline Coolen on VND here and on Villa La Repubblica here). The shepherd may remind you of the idealized shepherds of the 18th century in a time when high culture stood far from nature and reality,

V 37 Caroline Coolen

his fragmented state working both humorous and painful and his fragmented dog underscoring his predicament (according to the information panel it is a fox that could be a victim or a culprit). Another work by

V 38 Caroline Coolen
V 39 Caroline Coolen
V 40 Caroline Coolen
V 41 Caroline Coolen

Coolen is also fragmented and seems to be caught in a whirlwind, almost complementing Van Soom’s baroque high wave.

V 42 Peter Rogiers
V 43 Peter Rogiers
V 44 Peter Rogiers

Absurdism remains prevalent in Silver Cakespoons by Peter Rogiers. Few sculptures are as appropriate for this site as this strangely balancing tree.

V 45 Nick Ervinck
V 46 Nick Ervinck

LUIZAERC by Nick Ervinck was designed on a computer and printed with a 3D printer. Although the making process of a work like this is interesting (and i’m sure we’ll see a lot more 3D printing in future sculpture)

V 47 Nick Ervinck

the result isn’t much more than a big plasma-like doodle got out of hand and the opposition with the decorated pedestal is nice but nothing special.

V 48 Johan Creten

It is back to the sea again with Johan Creten’s humanized ray Octo in which different aspects are combined: the official monument on a pedestal, the showing of stuffed animals from the sea, the

V 49 Johan Creten
V 50 Johan Creten

idea of a sea monster, the upright stance of a human being, the human portrait, the dull lustre of a ray’s egg washed ashore and the patina of bronze.

V 51 Johan Creten
V 52 Johan Creten
V 53 Johan Creten

Creten is also responsible for Le grand vivisecteur, an owl with a seat which is an instantaneous public favourite and a good end to a well balanced public exhibition.

V 54 Johan Tahon
V 55 Johan Tahon
V 56 Johan Tahon
V 57 Johan Tahon
V 58 Johan Tahon

For those who are present before 4 pm there is more to be seen by Johan Tahon in the Kloosterkerk.

V 59 Johan Tahon
V 60 Johan Tahon
V 61 Johan Tahon
V 62 Johan Tahon
V 63 Johan Tahon

As you can see, Tahon’s sculptures are quite photogenic in the church.

V 64 Johan Tahon

There is also a video where you can see Tahon at work and where he is interviewed.

“I’ve got almost none of my own sculptures”

V 65 Johan Tahon

“I do have them in plaster, but i have no bronze casts of my own work”

V 66 Johan Tahon

“That’s all in rich people’s homes”

V 67 Johan Tahon

“I can’t afford having my own works in bronze”

V 68 Johan Tahon

“Which is a pity really”

V 69
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Brique; at Quartair gallery, The Hague

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The new cultural season for the visual arts in The Hague was opened last Friday with the exhibition Brique in Quartair.

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I went there the next day to write an article for Villa la Repubblica as it is a very fine exhibition.

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The artists are all from Belgium.

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The works are very diverse, with prints, drawings, installations and sculptures. Untill here you’ve seen works by Hedwig Brouckaert (drawings on print), Hans Demeulenaere (installation Spheres) and Stéphanie Leblon (painting).

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View of the gallery.

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Detail of a sculpture by Anton Cotteleer who invented an alternative way to keep a squirrel.

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Details of a gigantic woodcut by Caroline Coolen, who also made

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these ceramic dogs, cooperating with

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Demeulenaere who arranged the bricks.

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Cotteleer’s three graces clearly lost their heads in the process, while

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Stefan Serneels’ ink drawings, of which you see details here, add to the dreamlike ideas in this exhibition.

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Demeulenaere shows some installations, but is

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also responsible to more or less unifying the exhibition with brick structures. They

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bind together the different works of the other artists. Demeulenaere calls it

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Preparation for a Winter Garden. A good preparation for the coming season and its introvert nature.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

See the main article and additional pictures here.

Bertus Pieters