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

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off senses / future senses, Gemak, The Hague

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Off senses/future senses is an exhibition about the senses (would you guess it?) in Gemak/Vrije Academie. So apart from sight, it’s about smelling, hearing and feeling.

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It starts with the extremely blown up and detailed photos by Mattie van der Worm. Indeed

Gemak 28 Mattie van der Worm

it’s tempting to scratch them or to sniff for the smell of them.

Gemak 29 Peter de Cupere
Gemak 30 Peter de Cupere
Gemak 31 Peter de Cupere

Peter de Cupere is trying to find his way by smell.

Gemak 32 Peter de Cupere

Gemak 33 Peter de Cupere

More about smell by De Cupere. His instruments

Gemak 34 Peter de Cupere

Gemak 35 Peter de Cupere

have the alienating aesthetics of African masks in a museum.

Gemak 36 Derek Jarman
Gemak 37 Derek Jarman
There is a homage to Derek Jarman, although this isn´t his promised and enigmatic Blue. Jarman made Blue when he was almost blind. But well, that´s the story, which would be movingly appropriate to this exhibition.

Gemak 38 Petra van der Schoot
Gemak 39 Petra van der Schoot
Gemak 40 Petra van der Schoot
Gemak 41 Petra van der Schoot

Petra van der Schoot was busy with an ongoing project Gevallen kamers (Fallen rooms)

Gemak 42 Petra van der Schoot
Gemak 43 Petra van der Schoot

Gemak 44 Petra van der Schoot

where all textile is going through her hands, so everything is covered with feeling.
And apart

Gemak 45 Petra van der Schoot

from that she shows this intriguing contraption, with a moving eye.

Gemak 46 Yota Morimoto
Gemak 47 Yota Morimoto
Gemak 48 Yota Morimoto
Gemak 49 Yota Morimoto

Yota Morimoto (who did the opening performance) shows two installations where sound is influencing vision.

Gemak 50 Yota Morimoto
Gemak 51 Yota Morimoto

Gemak 52 Yota Morimoto

In Infrasonic Study #2 a deep bass sound influences the material attached to the amplifiers. A kind of photography through sound, or rather soundography.

Gemak 53 Lustlab
The Hyperlocator is an installation by LUSTlab which gathered quite some interest already at the opening. Projected balls with reflected street views react to the movements of the visitors standing close to the screen. And what’s more,

Gemak 55 Lustlab

Gemak 56 Lustlab

it also starts making noice. So you can influence it, but it will also influence you…..

Gemak 57 Objective Exhibitions
Gemak 58 Objective Exhibitions

Objectif Exhibitions let you concentrate on some short soundtracks while you sit in a chair and the sound is concentrated on your head

Gemak 59 Objective Exhibitions

Gemak 60 Objective Exhibitions

and makes you aware of how sound is entering your brain and really becoming sound to you.

Gemak 61 Cybil Scott
Gemak 62 Cybil Scott

Another way of experiencing sound is Cybil Scott’s installation Chamber. The sound will interact with you looking at virtually nothing except for some vague light. It’s demonstrated here by the artist.

Gemak 63 Cybil Scott

I’d say it’s not really my cup of tea (but that’s something personal) but i’d recommend anybody to give it a try for a quarter of an hour. Aesthetically speaking

Gemak 64 Cybil Scott

it would be better to let somebody else do it. (blind selfie)

Gemak 65 Sissel Marie Tonn
Gemak 66 Sissel Marie Tonn
Gemak 67 Sissel Marie Tonn
Gemak 68 Sissel Marie Tonn

Artistic Research Student Sissel Marie Tonn made an

Gemak 69 Sissel Marie Tonn

Gemak 70 Sissel Marie Tonn(picture darkened)

installation about communication in combination with absence.

Gemak 71 Goethe Farbenlehre
Gemak 72 Goethe Farbenlehre

As an afterthought Goehte’s colour theory is shown, while the light is shining through its pages, while

Gemak 73 Philipp Otto Runge
Gemak 74 Philipp Otto Runge

Goethe’s unfortunate and romantic contemporary Philipp Otto Runge’s thoughts on the same subject can be seen.

Gemak 75

The whole exhibition is well composed and has a lot to offer. One wonders

Gemak 76 Cybil Scott

why these aspects of today’s art are not shown in any museum in or around The Hague. But,

Gemak 77

on the other hand, institutions like Gemak couldn’t take credit for it then, and that would make the city a lot poorer. So

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the message is loud and clear: Go And Experience This!!

Gemak 79 Petra van der Schoot

(Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Bertus Pieters