Anima mundi; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Erzsébet Baerveldt, Pietà

Where does human life start and where does it end?

Erzsébet Baerveldt, Pietà

Johan Tahon, Sacrifice

Johan Tahon, Sacrifice

The answer to that question seems to be obvious enough: it starts with birth and it ends with death.

Anonymous, Nkisi nkondi

Anonymous, Nkisi nkondi

Anonymous, Christ at the Whipping Post

Michaël Borremans, The Angel

But our spirit is able to animate dead matter, and if it doesn’t do so physically it tries to do so spiritually.

Michaël Borremans, The Angel

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Into One-Another II To P.P.P.

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Into One-Another II To P.P.P.

We try to grasp life and death in scientific, philosophical, religious, spiritual and artistic ways.

Michel Nedjar, Untitled, Doll

Melanie Bonajo, Matrix Botanica – Biosphere above Nations

Melanie Bonajo, Matrix Botanica – Biosphere above Nations

Desirée Dolron, Vegetarian Festival Thailand

Where are the differences between science and ritual, between description and imagination, between a Congolese nkisi figure and a robot?

Desirée Dolron, Xteriors VIII

Anonymous, Kawe

Reynold Reynolds, Secret Machine

Or are there no real differences?

Reynold Reynolds, Secret Machine

David Altmejd, Delicate Man Contemplating Options

David Altmejd, Delicate Man Contemplating Options

David Altmejd, Delicate Man Contemplating Options

Hans van der Ham (1960) has curated a wonderful and very full summer exhibition in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam with works and objects varying from robots to Medieval and Renaissance paintings.

Paul de Reus, Doll

Boston Dynamics, Testing Robustness

Boston Dynamics, Testing Robustness

Per room the show is arranged in different chapters.

Boston Dynamics, Testing Robustness

Jeantine Lunshof, Eswar Iyer, Mark Skyler-Scott, Brain organoid

Jeantine Lunshof, Eswar Iyer, Mark Skyler-Scott, Brain organoid

Inez van Lamsweerde, Final Fantasy Series, Wendy

It tries to avoid the sentimental aspects of life and death but instead focuses on the way we try to harness or control life apart from physical human life, and in doing so create different aesthetics.

Head in formaldehyde

Baby in formaldehyde

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Augustijn Claterbos

As such aesthetics has become a matter of life and death.

Augustijn Claterbos

Augustijn Claterbos

Berlinde De Bruyckere

This is surely one of the most inspired and inspiring thematic exhibitions of the season.

Anonymous, Uramun

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2018

Content of all photographs courtesy to the owners of the works and to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Bertus Pieters

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Feedback #1, Marshall McLuhan and the arts; West, The Hague

Mogens Jacobsen

The present exhibition at West, spread over both locations at Lange Voorhout and Groenewegje, looks like a first presentation of a new gallery or a new artists’ platform.

Mogens Jacobsen

Mogens Jacobsen

It doesn’t lack ambition at all and works by 15 artists and artists groups are on show.

Harun Farocki

Harun Farocki

It must have been quite an effort to give every work the space and attention it needs, even more so as most works need technology to make them work.

Angela Washko

Angela Washko

It also means there are 15 different ways of seeing, 15 different worlds for the viewer to swallow.

Disnovation

Reynold Reynolds

Reynold Reynolds

That is hardly possible on a rainy November afternoon as every feature needs attention, let alone the excess of information about Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), the inspirer of the show.

Reynold Reynolds

Thomas Bégin

Thomas Bégin

It is clear an institute like West needs another way of seeing from the viewer than an average modern art museum.

Mediengruppe Bitnik

Mediengruppe Bitnik

Wolfgang Spahn

That is all right, very good even, but a show like this awakens high expectations for the next exhibitions.

Wolfgang Spahn

Wolfgang Spahn

Wolfgang Spahn

All fifteen works bare a promise to give more, to show more, to linger more on the subject and on the world of the specific artist or artists group.

MRZB

MRZB

MRZB

All works have to do, in one way or another, with Marshall McLuhan’s ideas about media (‘the medium is the message’, remember that one?), technology and the role of the artist.

MRZB

Darsha Hewitt, Stephanie Syjuco

Darsha Hewitt, Stephanie Syjuco

Although very coherent, problem is that the show doesn’t really evoke dialogue between the works.

Darsha Hewitt

Darsha Hewit

Stephanie Syjuco

It is as if dialogue is saved for the following exhibitions.

Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl

Christof Migone

If that is so, expectations can’t be anything but very high.

Willy Lemaitre

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to the artists and to West, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters