Alchemy, at Nest gallery, The Hague

‘You might think this is the finest pearl
But it’s only cardboard balls
Seamed in glue
Overwhelming technique
Done through diligence
It’s all happening from the inside, you say?’

Captain Beefhaert, Best batch yet


Alchemy is the title of the present show at Nest gallery. But it might as well have been called Transformation. However Alchemy stresses the more

Alchemy 02 Navid Nuur


material aspect of the exhibition. As the central piece by Navid Nuur shows, the exhibition is balancing between the aesthetics of the visual and the aesthetics


of the conceptual. In this heap of salt, iron filings are being kept together by magnets. The salt absorbs the moisture (including the breath of visitors) of its environment, causing the iron to rust.

Alchemy 05 Oscar Santillan

Alchemy 06 Oscar Santillan

In a video work by Oscar Santillan a drummer drums on the rhythm of the falling sweat of an exhausted dancer in a church. In a religious place body liquid transforms to sound.


In another work he extracted the ink from one of the volumes of Humboldt’s book Kosmos, the ink shaped as a very small ball in front of the book. Well, as you can see


there is a lot to explain about each work, like about this small, seemingly marbled work by Nuur, which is a piece of iron partly stained by rust, blood and anti-rust.


As this is not an explanatory blog i urge you to go and see for yourself, e.g.

Alchemy 10 Navid Nuur, Alistair Mackie

this pile of wasp nest’s paper by Alistair Mackie or

Alchemy 11 David Rickard
Alchemy 12 David Rickard

Alchemy 13 David Rickard

this polygon by David Rickard. Rickard also

Alchemy 14 David Rickard
Alchemy 15 David Rickard

Alchemy 16 David Rickard

perforated this oxygen tank and melted the drilling rests over it. Of course

Alchemy 17 Lawrence Weiner

such an exhibition (or any exhibition for that matter) couldn’t do without a text work by Lawrence Weiner who makes clear in all his works that art

Alchemy 18 Lawrence Weiner

can only exist in our heads. Sculpture is more than an action, an instruction or a wrought piece of stone or any other material. And what could water and dust create?

Alchemy 19 Navid Nuur, David Rickard, Alistair Mackie

Well, when you come to think of it….. why not

Alchemy 20 Navid Nuur

Alchemy 21 Navid Nuur

delve into some more works by Nuur? There is

Alchemy 22 Navid Nuur

Alchemy 23 Navid Nuur

one with vitamin D powder.

Alchemy 24 Myriam Holme

Myriam Holme’s work has a room of its own and is based on several contrasts and opposites. Whatever you think of it,


Alchemy 26 Myriam Holme

whether it is a work of material aesthetics or more spiritual aesthetics, it works very well. That’s different

Alchemy 27 Frank Ammerlaan

in Frank Ammerlaan’s work. It shows the results of a chemical process, which creates a work of some disinterested beauty. It simply lacks the stimulus to evoke meaning,

Alchemy 28 Frank Ammerlaan

for the Earth and its processes don’t create meaning. People do. All together this is a well composed and inspiring exhibition, which i’d recommend to anyone.

Alchemy 29
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters