“Honour the divine light in the revelations of art.” Well, let’s stick to that.
In the V.A. Room there is hardly any light to honour, let alone to make some proper pictures. But otherwise this is no room for complaining.
The idea of the V.A. Room is to combine and confront works of the Monique Zajfen Collection with works from the Gemeentemuseum’s own collection.
In this case some big photogravures coloured with gouache by Damien Hirst (1965) are confronted with etchings and an ink drawing by Rodolphe Bresdin (1822 – 1885) and some lithographs by Odilon Redon (1840 – 1916).
The whole combination is exhibited under the name Memento mori.
A long time ago i was a great admirer of Hirst’s works, but my admiration has been dwindling for the last two decades. But in spite of the reflections in the glass (or because of them) i must say i was impressed.
Maybe i am too easily impressed, because after all it’s the usual skulls and butterflies, and a dark background to make it a bit spooky. But it works.
The sense of refined luxuriousness in these works reminds you of the pomp and circumstance of old mausoleums of the high nobility. Now these works are purchased by the newly rich. But then again, it works.
Bresdin is famous for his extremely detailed etchings. They are not confronted directly with Hirst’s works. They need other lighting and another way of looking.
So, as other visitors took their time to inspect these etchings i went back to Hirst, looking death into its grinning face.
And back again to Bresdin.
The Hirsts are made to overwhelm you; the Bresdins are made to get lost in.
The Redons are far less detailed.
They are real fin de siècle works with
death, horses and women posing in some mysterious dream space.
This tiny drawing by Bresdin, small as a stamp, is the only work which is really confronting the big Hirsts.
This decadence is intoxicating and
yes, i can’t get enough of these reflections…
But as usual there is always an end to the tunnel!
(And by the way: it’s a very nice exhibition!)
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)