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

Alexandre Lavet: La cigarette n’a pas le même goût au soleil; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

“I don’t agree with the speed of visual perception. I think that ordinarily art takes time. And if something is worth looking at, you want to look at it again and again. I think basically art is meditative.”

Donald Judd (interviewed by Claudia Jolles, 1990)

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Alexandre Lavet has made an exhibition of conceptual art avant la lettre at Dürst Britt & Mayhew‘s.

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You may also call it post-conceptual as every detail is labelled more or less as a collector’s item, but, on the other hand, it is a successful show as far as i am concerned.

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It is all about looking and seeing in the first place.

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It is like walking in the empty spaces in between the objects of a gigantic still-life, with the objects missing that is.

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The small items Lavet has left in the room, apart from the dust, are not all what they seem.

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Reality becomes trompe l’oeil and vice versa.

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It is up to you as a visitor to have your thoughts about that and all other aspects that may spring to mind.

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As such these small things may have a maximum input on your behaviour, your thoughts (which may be contradictory) and in the end: your remembrances.

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So, go and have a look for yourself and try to have the same care for the items Lavet had when making and collecting them and composing this particular constellation in the gallery.

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It may not change your world, but it may influence the way you’ll look at art exhibitions a bit.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Alexandre Lavet and Dürst Britt & Mayhew

Bertus Pieters

Wieske Wester, double you double you; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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Wieske Wester (1985) shows paintings and drawings at Dürst Britt & Mayhew’s.

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Her style is reminiscent of neo-expressionism of the early 1980s.

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However there is no Hunger nach Bilder in her works,

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not explicitly anyway as she likes to obscure rather than to clarify.

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She indulges in her materials as she indulges in her subjects and their ambiguity.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Content of all pictures courtesy to Wieske Wester and Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

Bertus Pieters

Silent Light; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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Silent Light at Dürst Britt & Mayhew’s is a show with 5 so-called lens-based works by 5 artists. Four works are indeed without sound, which is a great relief. No hassle with not-working headphones etc.

Silent Light 02 Puck Verkade

The one with (working!) headphones by Puck Verkade is the most surprising.

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She found a good balance between the silence of her subject and the people telling about their experience of solitude and silence while living on an island near Iceland.

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Life and death seem to become one and bring peace and openness of mind.

Silent Light 05 Pieter Paul Pothoven

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Pieter Paul Pothoven projects a thin slice of lapis lazuli, the legendary blue from Afghanistan.

Silent Light 07 Alexandre Lavet

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Alexandre Lavet shows an enlargement of cursor movements over a colour selection programme, which looks like a night and day animation.

Silent Light 10 Sybren Renema

Sybren Renema shows a Tyrannosaur with a red balloon on its tail in the Natural History Museum in Oxford, which brings you back to Victorian times when dinosaurs became part of the Anglo-Saxon empire. It looks like a huge vanitas still life.

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The most recent work of the exhibition, a work by Raúl Ortega Ayala, is appropriately shown as the opening work, opening and closing the curtains.

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The works are fine and well presented but as a whole, in spite of the inviting silence, the show doesn’t seem to be very coherent. On the other hand, the works give enough room for contemplation, so take your time when visiting.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

 

Bertus Pieters

Un certain regard; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

Julie Verhoeven

Julie Verhoeven

 

Julie Verhoeven

Julie Verhoeven

 

Julie Verhoeven

Julie Verhoeven

Dürst Britt & Mayhew did it again!

Taocheng Wang

Taocheng Wang

 

Rachel de Joode

Rachel de Joode

 

Rachel de Joode

Rachel de Joode

Making a wonderful exhibition (Un certain regard) which is both attractive to watch and thought provoking, I mean.

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Rachel de Joode

 

Walter Pfeiffer

Walter Pfeiffer

 

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Rachel de Joode

They succeeded in making a show that isn’t just interesting for the eye, it even suggests it would be interesting for the fingers, the tongue or the nose (although one might be happy that the smell factor is not actually active).

Martin Soto Climent

Martin Soto Climent

 

Martin Soto Climent

Martin Soto Climent

 

Martin Soto Climent

Martin Soto Climent

The show is leaning towards an exercise in voyeurism without being pornographic.

Daniel Sinsel

Daniel Sinsel

 

Rachel de Joode

Rachel de Joode

 

Celia Hempton

Celia Hempton

In fact the whole exhibition is an essay on the sensual gaze and as such it deserves an almost museum-like attention.

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Celia Hempton

 

Daniel Sinsel

Daniel Sinsel

 

Daniel Sinsel

Daniel Sinsel

The gallery has brought together eleven artists from Europe, Asia, America and Africa, – which is remarkable in itself – varying from the great and famous Nestor of them all, Swiss photographer Walter Pfeiffer and the South African candid camera photographer Dean Hutton, to the British multimedia artist Julie Verhoeven and the young Chinese artist Taocheng Wang, who lives in the Netherlands.

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Dean Hutton

 

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Dean Hutton

 

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Dean Hutton

The show would be worth reviewing more extensively, but i’m afraid other priorities make me leave that to other authors.

Wieske Wester

Wieske Wester

 

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Wieske Wester

 

Leigh Ledare

Leigh Ledare

Enjoy the pictures, but it’s far better to visit the show yourself.

Leigh Ledare

Leigh Ledare

 

Sylvie Fleury

Sylvie Fleury

 

Rachel de Joode (l), Walter Pfeiffer (r)

Rachel de Joode (l), Walter Pfeiffer (r)

And, by the way, it is accompanied by a excellent essay by Judith Vrancken.

Dean Hutton

Dean Hutton

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Bertus Pieters

Sybren Renema: The Milk of Paradise, Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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I went to Dürst Britt & Mayhew gallery to write a review for Villa La Repubblica about Sybren Renema’s exhibition The Milk of Paradise. For the complete review (in Dutch) and some more pictures click here. It is quite a deromanticised romantic affair. Above you see Thomas de Quincey’s grave with a mirrored quotation from a letter by Coleridge, almost as an alternative epitaph.

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Renema’s neon lights remind you of the 19th century romantic facts, whether it is Death and the Maiden,

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the Wanderer-Fantasy,

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sublime mountain landscapes or

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opium addiction.

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There is also the sometimes life threatening hardship of being a brilliant scientist in the Romantic era and

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there is a death mask constructed by Renema from the average of more than 30 death masks of great Romantics.

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It is as cool and clean as it can be and still it looks devotional.

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It a very good and likeable exhibition. In spite of, or rather because of the subdued presentation, Renema’s enthusiasm in his works is quite clear and will make you want to see more, either here or in Xanadu.

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Bertus Pieters

Joseph Montgomery: Rules for Coyote, Dürst Britt & Mayhew gallery, The Hague

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A few days ago i visited Dürst Britt & Mayhew gallery to write a review for Villa La Repubblica about Joseph Montgomery’s show Rules for Coyote. Montgomery shows mainly painting like collages and reliefs. For a full review and some more pictures I refer you to Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch), but the best thing to do is of course to visit the gallery, which I highly recommend.

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Bertus Pieters